As the already two-year-old Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, Estonia's commander-in-chief has advocated a new strategy for the Eastern European country he says would bring victory.

"The initiative I would highlight is what the Estonian government proposed a few months ago. We call it the Victory Strategy," Gen. Martin Herem said during a recent interview with Kyodo News.

"The main idea is that if each Ramstein coalition country supports Ukraine with 0.25 percent of its GDP, then we would exceed the resources that Russia is using for the war. And that should give Ukraine enough power to liberate the country and to restore its territory," said Herem, who visited Tokyo for military consultations recently.

Supplied photo shows Gen. Martin Herem, commander of the Estonian Defense Forces. (Kyodo)

The alliance of more than 50 nations including all NATO members created "the Ukraine Defense Contact Group," also known as the Ramstein group, after the 2022 Russian invasion. Japan, South Korea and Australia are members of the ad-hoc coalition.

The proposed 0.25 percent of GDP contribution by the Ramstein group would provide $120 billion, according to the Estonian estimate.

"The current situation is not good at all for Ukrainians. And the situation is coming mainly because Russia has spent three times more money on this war than Ukraine and the Ramstein coalition. Russia has spent 15 billion dollars for the Ukraine war. And the Ramstein coalition supported Ukraine with 5 billion," he said.

Estonia, one of the Baltic nations neighboring Russia, made a variety of military contributions even before the war started.

"At the end of 2021, even before the war escalated, we saw the situation getting worse, and it's probable that Russia will escalate the situation. So we sent Javelin missiles, anti-tank missiles, artillery and air defense ammunition. So that was the first package, which also woke up many Western countries," Herem said.

Estonia, which hosts the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence, or CCDCOE, has helped with cyber security for Ukraine and the NATO alliance since the war started. CCDCOE is a multinational and interdisciplinary cyber defense hub for Western nations.

Herem also emphasized the military importance of a sustainable supply of ammunition. "So far the Western countries said that there is no ammunition available, which is not true. If you want to buy it from outside the European Union, there are many countries who are ready to sell," he said.

"European countries want to keep the money in the European Union. And that's actually the main problem. So now they have changed their principles."

Herem advocates beefing up Ukraine's air defense, which he says could change the future course of the war.

"I'm actually quite sure that if Ukraine keeps the current defense line until summer, they may get new supplies, mainly like long-range artillery and air defense. And these are the two things that they need most."

"That's why the F-16s are very important. Because F-16s are not just to attack the Russian units but also to keep the sky free of Russian aircraft, Russian air strikes," Herem said. NATO member countries have trained Ukraine pilots in use of the fighters.

Herem also stressed the high stakes of the ongoing war in the context of peace and stability not only in Europe but also in Asia. "If Russia wins in Ukraine, it will not just cause mistrust towards democratic governments among our countries. It will actually encourage China."

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