Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Isamaa), Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and President Kersti Kaljulaid expressed condolences following the death of 13 French troops in a helicopter crash in Mali on Monday.
"The loss of France is also a loss for Estonia," Luik said in a press release issued on Tuesday. "It was with great sadness that I received the news that one of our closest allies, France, has lost 13 soldiers in a helicopter accident in Mali yesterday. I extend my deepest condolences to the relatives of the French soldiers who lost their lives. I wish resilience to all troops serving in Mali."
Luik noted that members of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) are currently serving alongside French troops both in Estonia and in Mali, adding that this is a good example of cooperation against modern threats to security, which do not recognize national borders and can only be countered together with allies.
"Sad to hear about the tragic death of 13 French soldiers in Barkhane, where we as allies stand for a safer Africa and a safer world," Kaljulaid tweeted. "Sincere condolences to the French people and to those close to the perished soldiers."
"Dear Emmanuel Macron, my deepest condolences to you, to the French military and to their loved ones for the loss of 13 brave French soldiers in Mali yesterday," Ratas tweeted. "Troops in Mali and beyond have a key role in maintaining security in the Sub-Saharan region and subsequently in Europe."
France is one of several countries to contribute troops on a rotating basis to NATO Battlegroup Estonia, which is based at Tapa Army Base.
Members of the EDF also serve alongside French troops in Operation Barkhane in Mali.
Editor: Aili Vahtla