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Spring Military Exercises Said to Leave Litter Problem

In response to complaints from some locals, Defense Forces has sent out an advisory regarding imitation ordnance found in areas where a joint NATO-Estonia exercise recently wound up.

Although they said the various noisemakers and blank shells were not hazardous, they asked the public not to handle them and to report finds to the Rescue Board using the emergency number 112 or to the Defense Forces at 717 1085.

The Defense Forces says the areas where exercises are held are routinely cleaned after the end of the exercise, but that some imitation devices may remain. A spokeswoman, Ingrid Mühling, said locals were also briefed before the exercise on what to do in such a situation.

It appeared complaints were isolated, however, and confined to only a few areas.  

The exercise, largely held in Valga County, ended on May 23.

One family near Otepää found that the woods around their home was strewn with training grenades, some of which their 14-year-old son brought home.

"I asked my son if there were many more. He said that the woods were full of them," Liina Nugis told Postimees daily. "The area we live is one of the areas of Estonia that has the most wartime munitions as it stands."

World War II munitions are still found and disarmed in Estonia on a weekly if not daily basis.

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