Minister: JEF demonstration of decisiveness in deteriorating situation

Tuesday's JEF meeting in England, with U.K. defense minister Ben Wallace at the lectern.
Tuesday's JEF meeting in England, with U.K. defense minister Ben Wallace at the lectern. Source: Ministry of Defense

The British-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is but one capable and effective answer to the destabilization of Europe's security architecture prompted by Russia's actions against neighboring state Ukraine, Estonia's defense minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) says.

Speaking at a Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) meeting in Leicestershire, England, on Tuesday, Laane said that: "Russia has amassed significant numbers of troops and military equipment at Ukraine's borders, allowing them to attack Ukraine at very short notice."

"Recognizing the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics certainly provides a good excuse for that," the minister added.

Laanet stressed the importance of the JEF to Estonia and the region.

He said: "The JEF has an important role in the Baltic deterrence posture both in the political as well as military dimension, and the JEF forces are ready to react quickly by land, air or sea."

Laanet also said Ukraine and Europe as a whole are faced with an immediate military conflict, further propelled by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin recognizing the so-called "separatist" and "people's republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, which he did on Monday.

All ministers of defense at the JEF meeting reaffirmed their support for Ukraine's territorial integrity, and decided on the next actions of the JEF in Northern Europe, including on the Baltic Sea, which will constitute a show of capability and decisiveness.

"Estonia supports ensuring the readiness of JEF forces through these exercises," Laanet added.

The JEF is a U.K.-initiated and led coalition, primarily focused on maritime defense, which includes Estonia, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland in its makeup.

The focus areas of the coalition include the Baltic Sea region, as well as the North Atlantic.

Once the JEF is activated, the U.K. will ensure the necessary command and combat elements, to be supplemented by the capabilities of all the other member states.

Recent JEF exercises include last year's Operation Expone/Baltic Dash.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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