Gallery: French Leclerc tanks, other military equipment arrives in Paldiski

A dozen French Army Leclerc main battle tanks arrived at the port of Paldiski Wednesday, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reports.

The contingent was part of a larger arrival of both French and British equipment en route to Tapa, Lääne-Viru County, home of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, which units from both countries form the core of.

The event was the first joint Franco-British seaborne logistical operation of its kind, at least in Estonia, AK reported, and began at around 9 a.m. Wednesday. This was later than planned, due to both delays to the vessel carrying the equipment, and the late departure of a civilian ship berthed at Paldiski when the troops arrived. Conditions were also snowy.

A total of 151 vehicles and 32 containers were off-loaded.

British Army officer tasked with overseeing the operation, Lt. Jonathan Caulder, told AK that: "We have only of few of these [vessels] in the British Army, so they are very busy, and it's very important that we on-load and off-load our equipment as quickly as possible, so it can move on to its next job."

Maj. Alexis of the French Army added that: "We have together been conducting loading and unloading equipment on the ship today. The equipment was loaded on to the vessel in France, by French and British teams, and the kit is now being unloaded by French personnel, together with some Brits, today in Paldiski."

This cooperation will continue, in conjunction with Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) personnel and, potentially, Americans too, AK reported.

The roughly 300-strong French contingent is starting its third rotation within the U.K.-led eFP since the battlegroup became a reality in early 2017, and will take part in this year's annual Exercise Spring Storm while in Estonia.

Leclerc tanks have also been in Estonia before, exercising at the EDF's central polygon in Harju County.

The EDF also contributes an infantry platoon to the French-led Operation Barkhane, in the West African country of Mali.

The original AK clip (in Estonian and also in French and English) is below.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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