Gallery: Last units, equipment of NATO battle group reach Estonia ({{commentsTotal}})

The last of the personnel and equipment of the NATO battle group arrived in Estonia on Wednesday. April 5, 2017.
The last of the personnel and equipment of the NATO battle group arrived in Estonia on Wednesday. April 5, 2017. Source: (mil.ee)

The arrival of the personnel and equipment of the battalion-sized NATO battle group in Estonia was completed on Wednesday.

Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Gen. Riho Terras said that with the completion of the transfer, the first stage of increasing NATO presence has been successfully concluded. Now the personnel face the task of getting used to each other, polishing their teamwork, harmonizing the thinking of people from different cultural and domestic backgrounds and realistically implementing established chains of command, he said according to spokespeople from the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF).

The allies will be serving in Estonia as part of the EDF's 1st Infantry Brigade.

"We have prior good experience cooperating with the British, the French and the Danish, but we must also consider the fact that all exercises have their peculiarities, specific goals and tasks," said Terras. "I am absolutely certain that our cooperation will be conducted in the spirit of mutual understanding, as members of NATO universally understand why the decision was made at the Warsaw Summit to increase the security of the whole alliance through the presence of allies in the Baltic states and in Poland."

The equipment that arrived to Paldiski on Wednesday will be transferred to Tapa through Saturday. Equipment convoys will be moving along the route Paldiski - Keila - Tallinn Ring Road - Peterburi Road - Tapa-Loobu Highway - Tapa. There will be a total of 20 vehicles in one convoy, the speed of which will not exceed 70 kilometers per hour.

There are approximately 1,200 allied soldiers in the battle group stationed at Tapa. The U.K. is contributing more than 800 troops and a range of combat equipment, including Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), AS90 self-propelled artillery as well as armored vehicles. France is contributing 300 personnel and various equipment, including Leclerc tanks, VBCI IFVs and VAB armored vehicles.

The French will be serving at Tapa for the next eight months, after which they will hand over responsibility to a Danish contingent of similar size.

The leaders of NATO member states decided at the Warsaw Summit last July to station NATO battle groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland in response to the changed security environment. The allied battle group based in Estonia will be led by the U.K. and supported by France and Denmark.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS