Participants in the Estonian military exercise SIIL and Latvian exercise Namejs practiced cooperation under the leadership of NATO's Headquarters Multinational Division North. After the exercises, a joint line-up of Estonian and Latvian soldiers was held on the border of the two countries, in Valga (Estonia) and Valka (Latvia).
While the Estonian Defense League and the Latvian Zemessardze (National Guard) have previously participated in each other's exercises, on this occasion they also had common senior leadership. While the joint exercises in the field took place on Sunday, cooperation between the Estonian and Latvian personnel will continue under the command of NATO Multinational Division North next week.
"The nationwide activities were coordinated by senior staff and were relatively simple on the organizational side. One (Estonian) infantry group participated on the Latvian side and two (Latvian) infantry groups on our side. The scenario practiced was one in which the Latvian infantry group was forced into Estonia during the fighting. The Estonian units accepted them, helped tear them away from battle and then redirected them back to Latvia through their area of responsibility," explained Kaido Tiitus, head of the Defense League 's Southern National District.
On Sunday, following the conclusion of the joint exercises, the Latvian troops lined up on one side of the border and the Estonians on the other. Representatives of the Canadian-led NATO battalion in Latvia were also present and military equipment was displayed.
Latvian Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks and Chief of the Defense League's Southern Land Defense District Kaido Tiitus said, that military cooperation between the two countries is currently being strengthened.
The Latvian Defense Forces' 'Namejs' exercise, which involved the participation of 1,000 soldiers and members of the National Guard, took place in Vidzeme, near the Estonian border.
"We see the Baltic states as a common defense area. And here, too, the Baltic military should be able to move freely and quickly between the countries to help each other," said Pabriks.
On Monday, naval exercises organized by Latvian´ will begin in the Baltic Sea, where military cooperation between the Baltic States will also be practiced.
Editor: Michael Cole