Gallery: Reservists report for Exercise SIIL 2022

Over a thousand Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) reservists were expected to have descended on a training camp in Võru County in South Estonia by the end of Tuesday, as part of the annual military Exercise SIIL.

Around a quarter of the expected total complement had arrived, at the Taara barracks, as of Tuesday lunchtime, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported, with long lines reported as reservists from the 21st Infantry Battalion (21. jalaväepataljon) turned to at the gates of the base.

Former conscripts remain on EDF reserve lists and are liable for annual service in exercises like SIIL, which means "hedgehog".

Students Karl and Lepo told AK that they had traveled from Tallinn to take part.

"My girlfriend had to be left behind, and revision time for exams was shorter than usual and had to be sacrificed. I think I came with great pleasure," Karl said.

"I also came along, with pleasure. The university might be suffering a little, but it can do it," Leop added.

Another reservist, Rauno, said it was quite hard to make the transition from the world of work to military training.

He said: "There are a lot of tasks, a lot of work, but you have to be prepared for the homeland."

The reservists waited in line for processing, which included baggage inspection, the taking of personal data and head circumference and chest size measurements – in order to obtain suitable equipment.

Another reservist, Matis Leima, said that so far, the exercise had already been going better than SIIL 2015, adding he did not know if new weapons training would be on the agenda.

The battalion's commander, Lt Col. Indrek Sarap, told AK that: "Tomorrow, we will start cooperation training; we will learn to operate again as teams, divisions and groups, and the day after tomorrow we will be issued all our weapons."

SIIL will involve as many as 15,000 reservists and allied personnel, as well as volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit), air force (Õhuvägi) and navy (Merevägi) personnel, among others, including specialists in cyber warfare.

While most of the exercises take place in South Estonia, the EDF's Central Training area in Harju County and training areas in Latvia and on Saaremaa will also be utilized.

The exercise started Monday and runs to June 3 inclusive; during that time road users can expect some slow-moving military columns in affected areas and temporary traffic measures to be put in place; the EDF asks for understanding during this time.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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