The Estonian will to defend its nation has always been high, but the number of people joining the home guard has significantly increased recently, said head of the force, Brigadier General Meelis Kiili.
“It is natural for people to react to the international situation and especially to events which affect Estonia's security directly,” Kiili told ETV's “Ringvaade,” adding that this reflects in greater numbers wanting to join the voluntary army.
He said new members are signing up every day and the Defense League has grown by 600 this year, compared to 315 during the same period a year ago. It now has 23,000 members.
Kiili said people become more active when certain events take place in the world, which shows people care about their nation, home, loved ones and freedom.
The organization is also strong in the northeast of Estonia, where Estonians are a minority, with Narva boasting a 268-strong unit. “We do not draw lines on ethnicity, but only on who is loyal to the Estonian state and its lawful government.”