Cabinet Approves 7 Foreign Missions in 2015 ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonian infantryman on duty in Sangin Valley, Afghanistan Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The government approved a Ministry of Defense proposal today to allow up to 154 Estonian soldiers to participate in military missions abroad in 2015.

The two largest missions will be 40 sailors with the NATO Response Force (NRF), a NATO quick-reaction force that can be deployed anywhere in the world, and up to 50 troops with the European Union's Nordic Battle Group, a force with a 15-day deployment deadline.

Estonia's role in the NRF is mine countermeasures, and Estonian sailors are currently stationed in the Baltic Sea. Estonian soldiers in the Nordic Battle Group will be stationed in Estonia until needed.

Estonia plans to send up to 25 soldiers to Afghanistan as part of an operation called Resolute Support, a mission to carry on training local troops. This will occur when the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is completed at the end of 2014.

The ministry also wants to extend the EU mission in Mali and the UN MINUSMA mission, also in Mali, and the number of soldiers could be increased from the current two to up to 10.

The NATO mission in Kosovo (three soldiers) and the UN mission in the Middle East (six) will also be extended, and up to five Defense Forces' members can be sent to serve in NATO or EU military operation headquarters, if the institutions are set up.

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