President at Spring Storm: Estonia more than capable of defending herself

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President Kersti Kaljulaid visiting Spring Storm on Friday, May 21 2021. Source: EDF

While Article 5 of the NATO Treaty is mentioned often enough, Estonia also pays vital attention to Article 3, President Kersti Kaljulaid says. The president was speaking in the context of Exercise Spring Storm, the large-scale annual military event which started last Monday and whose progress she saw for herself during a visit Friday.

The president said: "Our article, Article 3 of the NATO Treaty, which first and foremost covers self-defense in one's own territory, is covered, while it is quite clear that our [NATO] allies have considered well how Article 5 might be applied here."

Article 5 concerns collective defense on the "attack on one member state is an attack on all" principle.

President Kersti Kaljulaid visiting Spring Storm on Friday, May 21 2021. Source: EDF

"It is precisely this consideration, this high-level training, which ensures deterrence, and this is getting better every year," the president went on, via an Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) press release, noting that participants in Spring Storm who are reservists – though their proportion is far smaller than in previous years due to coronavirus considerations – take their commitment seriously.

The president received an overview of Spring Storm as it is in progress at the exercise's headquarters at Tapa base, Lääne-Viru County, later traveling via armored vehicle to the EDF central training polygon in Harju County, where she met representatives from both EDF infantry brigades, as well as allied NATO personnel from France and the U.K., also taking part in Spring Storm.

The president also got to see the relatively new Spike anti-tank weapon system up close.

Spring Storm is ideal in identifying gaps which need plugging in Estonia's otherwise solid defensive cover, she added.

The president also noted that, while this is the second Spring Storm since the coronavirus arrived, last year's event took place during a time when far less was known about COVID-19 than is the case today, while the country is still taking the fight to the pandemic as well.

In addition to reservists and NATO personnel, regular EDF members and conscripts are involved in Spring Storm, which continues for another two weeks.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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