Estonia and Ukraine

Estonia has been a significant partner supporting Ukraine in both deed and symbolic effort. Though it is a smaller country it has the most GDP dedicated to the defeat of the Russian invaders in Ukraine. Estonia knows full well what Russian imperialism.

Total commitments

1.205bn € (Rank: 17)

3.554% of GDP (Rank: 1)

Military commitments

0.889bn € (Rank: 12)

2.622% of GDP (Rank: 1)

Humanitarian commitments

0.316bn € (Rank: 11)

0.932% of GDP (Rank: 1)

Financial commitments

no aid pledged (Rank: n/a)

no aid pledged(Rank: n/a)

Photo from Zelenskyy TG, photo in Kyiv, Text of From Ukrainian Foreign Ministry



1. Recognition by Estonia of Ukraine: August 26, 1991

2. Establishment of diplomatic relations: January 4, 1992

3. Political dialogue

Relations between Ukraine and the Republic of Estonia have a long history and today are characterized by a high level of trust and partnership.

Estonia strongly condemns the Russian aggression against Ukraine since the first days of the war. Consistent political support, military, humanitarian and financial assistance is provided. On March 14, 2022, Riigikogu deputies were the first to call on UN member states to take urgent measures to create a non-fly zone over Ukraine. On April 21, 2022, the Riigikogu adopted the statement “On war crimes and genocide of the Russian Federation in Ukraine” – Estonia became the first country to recognize the criminal actions of Russia (the Russian political and military leadership and the armed forces of the Russian Federation) against Ukraine as genocide. On October 18, 2022, the Riigikogu adopted a statement condemning the annexation of the territory of Ukraine and declaring the Russian regime as terrorist.

Support for Ukraine is one of the foreign policy priorities established on April 10, 2023 in the coalition agreement of the new Government headed by K. Kallas and approved on May 18, 2023 in the Government Action Program for 2023-2027.

Estonia was one of the first countries that began to support Ukraine with military aid. Since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Estonia has provided military and technical assistance to our state for more than 400 million euros, which is more than 1% of Estonia’s GDP. Estonia is among the leaders in terms of military aid per capita.

In March 2023, the Government of Estonia allocated EUR 25.4 million to cover costs related to temporarily displaced persons from Ukraine. Funds are distributed between the Ministry of Culture (learning the Estonian language at A1 level), the Ministry of Social Protection (providing medical and social services) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (strengthening border surveillance and migration monitoring). Since the beginning of the Russian aggression, Estonia has already provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine in the amount of EUR 23.1 million, of which government aid – EUR 4.1 million, private aid – EUR 19.0 million.

Estonia also joined and strictly adheres to all political and economic sanctions introduced by the EU against the Russian Federation, including personal ones. Estonia was one of the first to ban broadcasting of Russian TV channels. The government of Estonia continues its efforts to implement in practice the already adopted political decision to refuse Russian gas and oil. On April 17, 2022 Estonia closed its ports to Russian ships. Estonia is actively lobbying for the introduction of EU sanctions packages against the Russian Federation, including an embargo on oil and gas. From September 19, 2022, the Government has prohibited entry to Estonia for citizens of the Russian Federation.

Estonia became the first country that started the practical recovery of one of the regions of Ukraine – Zhytomyr region. During the First Regional Forum on the Recovery of the Territories of Zhytomyr Region Affected by Russian Aggression (September 27, 2022), a Memorandum was signed between the Zhytomyr RMA, the Ovruch community and the Estonian Center for International Cooperation on the construction of a kindergarten in Ovruch. On June 2, 2023, the official opening ceremony of the first phase of the kindergarten for 4 blocks was held. In addition, the Government of Estonia will finance the construction of the second phase of the kindergarten for an additional 4 blocks. The Estonian side is also considering other infrastructural reconstruction projects in the Zhytomyr region, in particular, among the following priority projects – the reconstruction of the road bridge in Malyn.

A dynamic political dialogue is maintained between the states, particularly at the highest level.

Contacts and visits at the highest level

January 10, 2023 – telephone conversation between President of Ukraine V. Zelenskyy and President of Estonia A. Karis.

January 11, 2023 – a telephone conversation between Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine D. Kuleba and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia U. Reinsalu.

February 7, 2023 – telephone conversation between Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine D. Kuleba and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia U. Reinsalu.

February 22, 2023 – telephone conversation between President of Ukraine V. Zelenskyy and President of Estonia A. Karis.

March 3, 2023 – the meeting of President of Ukraine V. Zelenskyy with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia U. Reinsalu and the meeting of Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine D. Kuleba with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia U. Reinsalu during the international conference United for Justice (U4J, “United for the sake of justice”) in the city of Lviv.

March 21-23, 2023 – the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia U. Reinsalu to Ukraine.

March 31, 2023 – the participation of President of Estonia A. Karis in the Bucha summit in online format.

April 24, 2023 – the visit of Prime Minister of Estonia K. Kallas to Ukraine.

April 28, 2023 – a joint visit of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of NB8 to Ukraine with the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia M. Tsakhna.

May 9, 2023 – the participation of President of Estonia A. Karis in the online summit of the leaders of the Core Group on the creation of the Special Tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

May 13, 2023 – the meeting of First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine O. Kornienko with President of Estonia A. Karis on the sidelines of the Lennart Mary Conference in Tallinn.

May 31, 2023 – a telephone conversation between Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine D. Kuleba and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia M. Tsakhna.

June 1-2, 2023 – the visit of President of Estonia A. Karis and Minister of Economy and Information Technologies of Estonia T. Riisalo to Ukraine.

June 2, 2023 – the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia M. Tsakhna to Ukraine.

June 2, 2023 – a meeting of Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine R. Stefanchuk with President (Speaker) of the Riigikogu of Estonia L. Hussar within the framework of the Summit of Presidents of NATO Parliaments (Vilnius).

Bilateral interparliamentary relations are supported by friendship groups of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Riigikogu (Parliament) of the Republic of Estonia. On a permanent basis, contacts are maintained and fruitful cooperation develops.

4. Bilateral trade relations

The Republic of Estonia is Ukraine’s 25th trade partner among European countries.

International ratings:

Doing Business 2022 – 18th place out of 190;

Human development index – 30th place (0.871);

Index of perception of corruption – 22nd place (70);

Global competitiveness index – 30th place (4.78);

World press freedom index – 12th place (13.55).

According to the Estonian State Statistical Application, the turnover of goods between Ukraine and Estonia amounted to 282 million euros, which is 15% or 37 million euros less than the volume of trade in goods for 2021. Export volumes of Ukrainian goods to Estonia amounted to 103 million euros and decreased by 8% or 9 million euros compared to 2021, import volumes increased by 33% or 43 million euros and amounted to 179 million euros. The balance in trade in goods for 2022 is negative for Ukraine and amounts to 76 million euros.

5. Cultural and humanitarian cooperation

Ukraine-Estonia cultural and humanitarian cooperation is characterized by activity and efficiency. The Embassy of Ukraine in Estonia pays great attention to cultural diplomacy to promote a positive image of Ukraine in Estonia.

The Ukrainian diaspora in the Republic of Estonia deserves a lot of credit for the development of the indicated direction of bilateral relations, in particular, in the celebration of memorable dates in the history of the Ukrainian people, the anniversaries of prominent public figures of our country, and the holding of lessons in Ukrainian Sunday schools in the country of residence. In popularizing Ukrainian culture, the main focus is on cultural and educational activities.

The Tallinn public willingly accepts Ukrainian artists and performers who periodically visit the Estonian capital. Their performances create a positive impression among Estonians about Ukrainian culture as modern, interesting and diverse.

Creative collectives of the Ukrainian diaspora in Estonia regularly represent Ukrainian culture at creative festivals that take place in the country, in particular the Festival of Ukrainian Culture in Rakvere, the Festival of the Peoples of Estonia, the Nicholas Fest Festival in Sillamäe, the children’s festival “Flowers of Ukraine”, the international festival “North star”.

The Ukrainian community conducts scientific and educational events, in particular round tables, during which the role and contribution of important events and historical figures in the creation and formation of the worldview of Ukrainians as citizens of a free and independent Ukraine is discussed.

Ukrainian Sunday schools take an active part in the education of Ukrainian youth, in particular, the Sunday school at the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Sunday school “Labora” in Tallinn, the Sunday school “Nadia” in Tallinn, the Sunday school of the Ukrainian society “Vodogray” in Sillamäe, Sunday school of the association “Barvinok” in Valga.

6. Scientific and educational cooperation

Ukraine-Estonia cooperation in the field of education and science includes a number of mutually beneficial projects.

Within the framework of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the Estonian School of Diplomacy (ESD), a ten-month training program for Ukrainian students at the Estonian School of Diplomacy based on the Swedish-Estonian project is implemented every year. On the initiative of the Embassy of Ukraine, the Estonian School of Diplomacy, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, developed a long-term training program for Ukrainian experts on EU issues.

The largest number of students from Ukraine study at the following higher education institutions in Estonia: University of Tartu; at Tallinn University of Technology; in the Euroacademy; at Tallinn University and in other higher educational institutions (Estonian Business School, Estonian Academy of Arts, University of Natural Sciences).

There is a dialogue in the field of implementation of inclusive education, on the development of targeted training programs for children with special educational needs according to various nosologies.

An important role is played by the Estonian educational fund “INNOVE”, which provides assistance to the regions of Ukraine (Khmelnytskyi, Kyiv, Chernivtsi Oblast, Dnipro, Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts) in the development of vocational education in Ukraine.

The most interesting for Ukraine is the experience of Estonia in the organization of professional and technical education, inclusive education, development of IT technologies and e-government.

Ukrainian scientists work in a number of universities in Estonia, in particular in the Tallinn University of Technology and the University of Tartu, where they participate in the development of scientific products, for example, in the field of digital technologies.

As part of Estonia’s decision to provide assistance to Zhytomyr region in recovery, the Government of the Republic of Estonia is implementing projects to improve the level of qualifications of teachers in Zhytomyr region

7. Bilateral documents

Number of signed documents: 85. Key documents:

  • Agreement on friendship and cooperation between Ukraine and the Republic of Estonia dated May 26, 1992 (entered into force on August 6, 1993);
  • Agreement between Ukraine and the Republic of Estonia on legal assistance and legal relations in civil and criminal cases (entered into force – 22.11.1995);
  • Declaration on the deepening of cooperation and partnership between Ukraine and the Republic of Estonia (entered into force – 05/24/1995);
  • Agreement between Ukraine and the Republic of Estonia in the field of social security (entry into force – 02.01.2012).

8. Ukrainian community 

In Estonia, Ukrainians are the third largest ethnic group after Estonians and Russians. Before the start of the Russian Federation’s full-scale military aggression against Ukraine, more than 25,000 immigrants from Ukraine lived in Estonia, from the beginning of the war until May of this year more than 130,000 citizens of Ukraine entered the country, 71,000 of whom remained in Estonia.

The cities of Narva, Sillamäe, Kohtla-Järve, and Yihvi (the north-eastern region of Estonia) are places of compact residence of Ukrainians in the Republic of Estonia, where during the Soviet times specialists of the chemical industry and miners from Ukraine were sent to work. Ukrainians also live in Tallinn, Tartu, Maardu, Pärnu.

Representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora in the Estonia are united in two independent structures:

The Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia and the Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Estonia, which include twenty-eight Ukrainian national and cultural societies.

The Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia (chairman – Vira Konyk), currently unites more than ten organizations, including: the Union of Ukrainian Women of Estonia, the scouting organization “Plast” and the sports club “Dnipro”, the Ukrainian community of Ida-Virumaa, the Ukrainian cultural and educational society “Stozhary” ” Maardu, Ukrainian community “Barvinok” Rakvere (chairman – Maria Gavrilyuk), Ukrainian society “Smerichka” Oizu (chairman – Hanna Loovili), Ukrainian community Narva, Ukrainian society Pylva, cultural society ” Ray” of Tartu. The Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia gathers around the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, which is located in the same building as the Ukrainian Cultural Center (the head is Anatoly Lyutiuk). There is a Ukrainian Sunday school and a folk crafts school at the church, as well as a small library.

Women’s vocal group “Vidlunya”, choir “Rodyna”, girls’ ensemble “Verbychenka”, girls’ ensemble “Dzherela”, Ukrainian theater studio ArtStudio, Theater of Ukrainian Rite “Vertep”, Club of Ukrainian Literature operate under the organizations of the Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia.

The Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia is a member of the Association of the Peoples of Estonia, the European Congress of Ukrainians, the World Congress of Ukrainians, and the Ukrainian World Coordination Council. Representatives of the Congress are part of the round table of national minorities under the President of Estonia. The Union of Ukrainian Women of Estonia is a member of the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (WFUHO).

The Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Estonia (President – Volodymyr Palamar) unites the following organizations: 1) Center of Ukrainian Culture in Estonia “Prosvita”; 2) Ukrainian village of Sillamye “Vodogray”; 3) Cultural and educational society “Orpheus” of Tapa; 4) Ukrainian society “Vitchizna” of Pärnu; 5) Union of Ukrainian Youth in Estonia; 6) Creative association “Koyt” of Tapa; 7) Ukrainian community of Payde “Spogad”, 8) Youth and children’s choreographic ensemble “Color” of Tallinn, 9) Ukrainian studio “Kobzaryk” of Tallinn, 10) Ukrainian registered Cossacks in Estonia, Tallinn. The Ukrainian Saturday school “Nadia” operates under the Association.

Academic choir “Ukraine”, women’s vocal group “Neighbors” and choir “Mriya” (Tallinn), ensemble “Kumasi” operate under the organizations of AUOE.

The Embassy of Ukraine in Estonia closely cooperates with the Ukrainian community, primarily in the field of public and cultural diplomacy to promote the image of Ukraine in Estonia.

Given the large number of Ukrainian children who came to Estonia with their parents, fleeing Russian aggression, the Embassy pays special attention to ensuring their educational needs.

The following Ukrainian schools are currently operating in Tallinn.

1. The school for Ukrainian children at 49 Raagu Street, in a building belonging to Tallinn University, is part of the Lillekyula Gymnasium (municipal school). The project manager is Natalya Myalitsina. The teaching staff of the school is fully represented by Ukrainian teachers from among temporarily displaced persons. Since September 2022, more than 400 students have started studying at the school (the school is designed for 600 educational places).

2. On September 1, 2022, the Tallinn Municipality opened a Ukrainian school at the Tallinn Tynismae State Gymnasium, which was named “Freedom School”.

The educational institution is designed for 800 places for students of grades 7-12. Currently, 584 students study at the “Freedom School”. Educational activities at the “Freedom School” are conducted using the method of language immersion, at least 60% of lessons are conducted in Estonian. The school is headed by Olga Selishcheva, who previously worked as the head of the Tallinn House of the Estonian Language INSA, as well as a teacher and head of educational work at the school.

Energy aid Humanitarian aid
  • 120,000£ to help the displaced population in the conflict zone of the war, this aid includes generators, air heaters, air conditioners, sleeping bags, and hospital beds [January 2015].[86]
  • As of 8 April 2022, 344 tons of non-military relief supplies.[87]
  • Various medical and humanitarian aid, including 15 tons of food aid provided by 15 March 2022 and 45 ambulances provided by 17 April 2022[88]
  • Total €24,753,085 for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid in 2021–22 financed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Estdev[89]
  • As of 17 April 2022, 8 shipments of rescue equipment (including 10 firefighter and rescue vehicles and 16 all-terrain vehicles). Subsequent shipments will involve bigger technology.[90]
  • At least 30 Iveco Crossway buses pledged to Bucha and other Ukrainian cities on 13 June 2022.[91]
  • 27 buses to help to restore the transport system [November 2022] [92]
Aid to refugees
  • €25.4 million to support Ukrainian refugees (March 2023).[93]
Towed artillery Vehicles
  • 13 vehicles [Delivered before April 2022][125]
  • Alvis 4 protected mobility vehicles [May 2022][130]
Naval vehicles
  • Patrol boats [To be delivered].[131]
  • 7 unmanned aerial vehicles [February 2023].[132][133]
Anti-tank weapons Small arms
  • Small arms, including 35,000 automatic rifles [Delivered before April 2022][125][135]
  • Rifles and pistols [February 2023].[132]
  • Grenade launchers [To be delivered][137]
  • Sniper rifles [To be delivered].[131]
  • 150 additional handguns with ammunition announced August 2023.[138]
  • Ammunition, including tens of millions of cartridges [Delivered from March 2022 onwards][125][139][135]
  • 1000s of 155m artillery shells [To be delivered][126][25]
  • 5.56mm ammunition [To be delivered].[140]
Miscellaneous equipment
  • Protective equipment[125]
  • 10,000 Winter uniforms[129]
  • Thousands of camouflage suits[129]
  • 50,000 field rations[125][141][142][143]
  • Sights, thermal imagers and binoculars [From February 2023 onwards].[132][131]
  • Communications equipment[129]
  • Medical equipment[129]
  • Generators and chargers [February 2023].[132]
  • Three field hospitals [Two delivered, one to be delivered] (in cooperation with Germany, Netherlands and Norway).[132]
Training and rehabilitation