NATO troops stationed in Estonia rise to 1,700, majority British

NATOA and Estonia flags.
NATOA and Estonia flags. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonia's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) NATO battlegroup has doubled in size and there are currently 1,700 troops stationed at Tapa military base.

The battlegroup has been present in Estonia since 2017 and, until the start of 2022, it contained approximately 1,000 troops.

After tensions rose between Russia and the west at the end of last year, NATO countries pledged additional reinforcements to strengthen the battalion.

This has been carried out by extending the length of time troop deployments spend in Estonia. Usually, rotations swap twice a year, in March and September, but allies have now either agreed to temporarily leave troops at Tapa for longer or to bring new deployments forward, increasing the number of troops in the region.

The United Kingdom was the first country to double its forces to approximately 1,600. The country is the battlegroup leader.

This week France will hand over its regular rotation to Denmark this week, but will temporarily keep 200 of its 300 troops in the region. They will arrive later this week.

More than 200 Danish military personnel arrived at Ämari airbase on Friday. The battlegroup also includes one representative from Iceland.

NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Source: NATO

Belgium also has 50 personnel at Ämari Air Base as part of the NATO Air Policing Unit and has several F-16 fighter jets in residence. The U.S., UK and France have also sent additional aircraft to the region in recent weeks.

Allies from the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, Poland, Germany, Great Britain and Hungary serve in the NATO Headquarters unit in Tallinn. There are also members from allied nations at the Baltic Defense College in Tartu.

While more troops have been sent temporarily to the region in recent months, Estonia's leaders believe a permanent presence should be established.

16,000 to take part in military exercise SIIL 2022

From mid-May, 16,000 Estonian conscripts, reservists and allied troops will participate in the annual military exercise SIIL 2022.

The purpose of the exercise is to test the combat readiness of the Defense Forces and their ability to respond to threatening scenarios in an international framework. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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