Marko Mihkelson is the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Estonian parliament Riigikogu. He says the expected attack by Israeli ground forces against Hamas in Gaza will deepen divisions in Europe.
There is a lot of speculation that the Israel-Hamas war will take the West’s attention away from helping Ukraine to fight against Russia. How concerned are you about it?
Everything depends on the further course of the Israel-Hamas war and its possible escalation. If the war were to expand and involve Hezbollah and Iran behind it, this has the potential to develop into a conflict affecting global relations. It is in Russia’s interest to tie the US public to Israel for as long as possible in order to distract from Ukraine’s central role.
How can it affect the security of Estonia and the other Baltic states?
The war in Israel is undeniably linked to the war in Ukraine. Firstly, it is in Russia’s interest to light new fires in various hotspots of the world right now in order to distract the attention of the US and Western countries. Secondly, the expected attack by Israeli ground forces against Hamas in Gaza will deepen divisions in Europe.
Thirdly, potential new migration pressures on Europe may and will only exacerbate political polarisation. All of this together weakens the ability of the Western Allies to take a strong and unified strategic stance, the main goal of which should be the defeat of Russia. If Russia cannot be pushed back strategically, then the security of the Baltic states and thus the whole of NATO is also at risk.