Gallery: Estonian president visits Okas 2021 snap exercise

President Alar Karis on Sunday met reservists participating in the Okas 2021 (Quill 2021) snap training exercise and lauded their willingness to defend Estonia.

The president received an overview of the exercise so far, met with reservists and examined the installment of temporary border barriers.

"You are the best example of Estonia's defense willingness and a confirmation that our reservist force indeed exists," Karis said, thanking employers and families who allowed reservists to take part at short notice.

"It shows that Estonia's national defense is the shared responsibility of the entire society and everyone in Estonia can contribute to it," he added.

Even though the exercise serves as a combat readiness check, it is a necessary signal in the present tense security situation in which the region currently finds itself due to Belarus' hybrid attack against the borders of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, the president said.

Reservists constructing Estonia's temporary border barrier in south Estonia in November 2021. Source: Ministry of Defense

"The situation on the Estonian border is currently calm but we're also prepared for more turbulent times and for various threat situations," Karis said. "We can see that the quills of Estonia's national defense are sharp and this hedgehog is not hibernating."

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) visited the Okas exercises taking place in the eastern border town of Narva at the weekend.

The main purpose of the exercise is to test Estonia's national defense chain of command, from the Estonian government's decisions down to the units' combat readiness in the rapid response structure. Cooperation with the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is also practiced.

Among mobilization and formation procedures as well as additional training, the reserve engineers also constructed 40 km of temporary border fences in border areas.

Okas is a snap exercise that takes place at short notice, calling up reservists. The exercise has taken place every year since 2016 with the exception of 2020.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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