Russian military representatives were in Estonia Wednesday, inspecting Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) facilities, under the terms of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agreement dating back to 2011.
The Russian delegation's visit coincided with the third week of the annual large-scale Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) exercise, and took in activities connected with this at Tapa, Lääne-Viru County, home of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup and the EDF's central training polygon in Harju County, ERR reports.
The delegation also took part in an observation overflight of a designated zone.
The Russian delegation's main aim was to ensure that actual military activity in Estonia within the zone under inspection does not exceed the declared volume, a limit which one of the visitors, Col. Igor Kozmenko, said there had been no sign of having been overstepped, pending final conclusions.
The Vienna Document provides OSCE member states – which include Estonia, Russia and practically all European nations, as well as Canada and the U.S. – with options to obtain from one another overviews of military capacity, including in-country inspections of personnel and facilities, within set limits.
The lead-time between notification of an inspection and its taking place is just five days, while the visitors get 48 hours to carry out their activities.
Estonia has not carried out a reciprocal inspection of Russian military facilities this year so far, it is reported.
The Vienna Document predates the 2014 Russian annexation of the Crimea and the ongoing insurgency war in the east of Ukraine that started the same year, prompting criticisms that the format and its framework is outdated.
Editor: Andrew Whyte