Of 8,800 reservists summoned to take part in the Estonian Defense Forces' Siil (Hedgehog) 2022 major training exercise 1,300 were exempt from the obligation to participate for various reasons, while 1,400 failed to show up without specifying why, the EDF told ERR.
Of reservists summoned, 1,300 were exempt before the start of the exercise, with family matters, stay abroad and work duties given as the main reasons.
Siil 2022 saw the participation of 77 percent of those who received the summons or 5,800 reservists. In addition to those exempt, 1,400 reservists failed to show or give reason.
The Ministry of Defense told ERR that those who did not show up and failed to give notice were contacted by their designated units to ascertain the reasons. All reasons for reservist absence will be determined once the exercise is concluded.
ERR was told by the military police that people who failed to report for the exercise without reason are looking at misdemeanor proceedings and fines. All similar cases have been processed as misdemeanor proceedings so far.
The fine for failing to show up for reservist training could be as high as €1,200.
"On the one hand, I am glad we have achieved battle readiness. At the same time, quite a few reservists have failed to show for unknown reasons," exercise commander Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm said.
The main units to be inspected as part of Siil 2022 are the 2nd Infantry Brigade and the Strategic Comms Center of the Cyber Command. The 2nd Infantry Brigade summoned around 5,000 reservists. Over 2,900 of them reported for duty, while 900 were exempt from participating for various reasons.
The formation of the Cyber Command saw nearly 800 summonses, with around 550 reservists reporting in over 400 of whom for the Strategic Comms Center training.
Siil budget €12 million
The budget of Siil 2022 is €12 million, while the fact not all reservists and permanent EDF members are taking part means expenses will probably fall short of €10 million, the EDF said.
Staff expenses make up €3-4 million three-quarters of which are reservists' salaries. Around €3 million has been spent on equipment, including munitions and camouflage, repairs and medical expenses, with another roughly €3 million for the exercise's economic expenses (fuel, rental costs, transport etc.). Half a million has been earmarked for potential damage caused during the exercise.
Catering will cost €2 million.
The Siil 2022 exercise has over 15,000 fighters. Other exercises happening at the same time are Namejs in Latvia, NATO Multinational Division North exercise Knight Legion in Estonia and Latvia and U.S. armed forces Defender Europe in various European countries, including Estonia. Allied and partner soldiers in Estonia will number around 4,200.
Editor: Marcus Turovski