In a ceremony held at the Estonian War Museum in Viimsi last Friday, Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) awarded nearly 140 people for their significant contributions to Estonia's national defense. The recipients of the honors had been announced last December, however the ceremony was postponed due to the pandemic.
"Estonia's national defense has undergone an incredible leap in development over the last quarter of a century, but especially in recent years," Laanet said in his speech according to a press release.
"It is especially clear today how necessary this has been, and we understand that we will have to make an even greater effort in the future," he continued. "Russia's barbaric war in Ukraine continues for the fourth month, and security threats and risks are unfortunately increasing. The threat horizon — during which we must be ready to defend ourselves at any given time and with all of our own forces and those of our allies — is inevitably moving forward."
The defense minister underscored that thousands of service members from the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), members of the Estonian Defense League (KL), reservists, officials, specialists, and cooperation partners from the public and private sectors are responsible for the success story of Estonia's national defense.
"The Ministry of Defense has recognized hundreds of people who have contributed to building an independent defense capability, achieving NATO membership and strengthening allied relations," he said, adding that they very highly value the efforts, dedication and professional skills of everyone recognized.
The defense minister awarded Ministry of Defense Crosses of Merit, Badges of the Ministry of Defense and letters of appreciation to recipients for their exemplary efforts in the following areas: defense planning, defense cooperation with allies, volunteering in Defense League activities, leading debates on national defense issues, participation in international operations, cybersecurity, capability development, information technology and infrastructure development.
Click here for a full list of the December 2021 recipients of Ministry of Defense decorations and other honors.
Click here for the Estonian Defense Forces' full photo gallery of last Friday's ceremony.
Editor: Aili Vahtla