Polish military personnel taking part in a large-scale military exercise in Estonia have started arriving, via sea, at Paldiski, west of Tallinn. The troops are to focus on coastal defense-related rehearsals, and are from a missile defense unit.
Cmdr. Mati Terve, commander of the fleet of the Estonian Navy (Merevägi), said Friday that: "The participation of the Polish missile unit in Spring Storm sends a clear message of deterrence and demonstrates the two states' excellent allied relationship."
Coastal defense is part of current Estonian defense doctrine and an area which future investments will focus on.
The annual Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) large-scale exercise started at the beginning of the week, and is set to run for three weeks in total.
"This is a great opportunity for the Navy to rehearse coastal defense and anti-ship capability with the capabilities that we do not yet possess ourselves. The knowledge and experience acquired during the exercise will in turn contribute to the development of Estonian coastal defenses," Cmdr. Mati Terve added.
The Poles will carry out their activities under the purview of the Estonian Navy, which is organizationally a part of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), rather than being a discrete service.
Over 50 arrived at Paldiski Friday along with 10 Jelcz 662 off-road trucks, aboard two Lublin-class landing vessels, BNS reports.
Military police units will escort the Polish contingent to the island of Hiiumaa island, where the unit will be based for nearly a week.
The unit's main activities within spring storm begin Monday and will be dispersed across Hiiumaa, Estonia's second-largest island.
Coordination between seaborne vessels and land-based combat drills will e included in the exercises, BNS reports, while the Estonian Navy is putting up 150 personnel, its flagship, the ENS Admiral Cowan, two other Sandown-class vessels, the ENS Wambola and the ENS Sakala, and two recently-delivered, Saaremaa-built force protection vessels, ENS Roland and ENS Risto, to take part in the maneuvers.
A diving squad will also take part, as will members of the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit).
Around 7,000 people are taking part in Spring Storm this year, paying all attention to coronavirus regulations. Due to this latter consideration, the number of reservists taking part is lower than usual, though regular members of both EDF Infantry Brigades, the Air Force (Õhuvägi) and support command will be joining the Navy and the Defense League, as will members of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, based at Tapa.
Editor: Andrew Whyte