Ambassador George P. Kent Remarks at Varnja Memorial Ceremony

February 8, 2024

Ambassador Kent:

Thank you for inviting us, as colleagues, as allies, to join you for this day.

In English, we often say that geography is destiny. Estonia has been on the border of east and west for hundreds of years. And I think that is the reality that you, as the guardians of Estonia, know every day — whether it’s on the Narva River, whether it’s on Lake Pepsi, whether it’s along the green border further to the south.

Your colleagues here in 1938 paid the price for defending the Estonian Republic. We are here as allies because the United States stands with you in protecting all of our territory, as NATO countries.

You have the primary responsibility of protecting your borders and your people. We are here, not as just diplomats today, but also with our troops in Võru, in Tapa, and in Ämari: to be with you, to defend Estonia, to send a signal to Russia that we are allies.

And the events that this day commemorates, when Soviet Russian troops came across the border and killed Estonian border guards, is not something that you, or we, are willing to accept. We stand with you, Estonia, in the same way that Estonia and the United States stands with Ukraine as it has been invaded now for a full ten years.

I commend you on your dedication to your duty in protecting Estonia. And I pledge U.S. support in defending Estonia.