Defense minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) presented mission medals to French personnel based in Tapa with the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup on Tuesday, ahead of the end of their deployment in Estonia.
Laanet said that: "NATO's enhanced Forward Presence is a valuable instrument of peace and security. It is a manifestation of solidarity that entails not only political statements of support, but - first of all - practical cooperation and human connections. This cannot be underestimated, particularly in the present tense circumstances."
"Together with our allies we must continue to show determination and readiness to deter and if necessary, to respond and defend. Estonia is very grateful to you and to our very close ally France for the support," he continued, according to a defense ministry press release.
Col. Eric Mauger, Commander of the French forces in Estonia, and Deputy Commander of the eFP said: "It has been an honor and a privilege for the French contingent to serve here and to be part of Estonia's defense."
"Since September, we have been integrated into the Estonian 1st Brigade alongside our UK partners and we have exercised with members of the Estonian Defense League, both in Saaremaa and in Tapa. Our LeClerc tank crews also took part in a multinational tank shooting competition and live-fire exercise in Latvia in October. So this deployment has been very rewarding and has given us a very good opportunity to practice interoperability with our Estonian and U.K. comrades," he went on.
The 1st Regiment of Chasseurs, which most of the 170 personnel who received medals belong to, is to hand over its mission to the 5th Dragoon Regiment (5e régiment de dragons) before year-end.
The eFP is British-led, often augmented by units from France and Denmark.
Editor: Andrew Whyte