Members of a western Estonian branch of the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) have completed a nearly 550-kilometer coastal journey, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Tuesday. The trek was carried out in stages spread over many months.
Personnel from the Lääne Defense League District (Malev) covered 347km by foot, on the land, and the remaining 201km by boat, around the heavily-indented northwestern Estonian coastline, covering three counties in the process.
The Lääne district's commander, Maj. Andres Välli, told AK that: "The goal with the involvement was to create a connection across all the district's sub-units, through all the participants. We had participants who took part from start to finish, who went through all the counties, all the stages, all the district sub-divisions."
The trip was conducted in increments over a period of several months, starting last fall and ending on Tuesday, on a beach straddling the Lääne County/Harju County border.
Just over 100 people completed all the stages of the trek, while a pan-Estonian exercise could be held next year involving the Defense League as a whole, if current discussions to that end come to fruition, AK reported.
The Defense League has seen a raised profile in the current defense and security situation, while the regular Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) commander, Lt. Gen. Martin Herem, together with his Defense League counterpart, Brig. Gen. Riho Ühtegi, announced at a press conference Tuesday that not only would the league be boosted in membership to around 10,000, but a similar number of EDF reservists would be appended to their nearest Defense League district, in the interests of better clarity about who needed to be where, and in the pursuit of a light infantry force with a defensive role, as compared with the regular EDF's two heavy infantry brigades.
Editor: Andrew Whyte