Minister: Doubling Estonia's territorial defense is necessary

Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur inspecting a military vehicle.
Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur inspecting a military vehicle. Source: Kaitsevägi

Doubling the size of Estonia's territorial defense structure to 20,000 people is necessary to strengthen Estonia's defense, Minister of Defense of Estonia Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said this week.

Pevkur, who stepped into the role two weeks ago, visited the Headquarters of the Estonian Defense League and met with the Commander of the Defense League, Brigadier General Riho Ühtegi, to receive an overview.

"I am convinced that doubling the size of the territorial defense structure, i.e. to 20,000 people, is the right move and necessary in order to strengthen Estonia's national defense. The role of territorial defense within our defense structure is crucial, increasing the readiness and ability of the reserve army as a whole to resist the enemy," said Pevkur after his meeting with the Commander.

Events in Ukraine have confirmed the importance of the organization's role and its part in shaping society's will to defend itself, he said.

"We will do everything to double Estonia's security blanket for residents and make it more painful for the enemy. To do this, we have well-thought-out plans, resources, and the determination needed to implement these plans. At this point, I call on all those who wish to contribute to Estonian national defense to join the Defense League, including both Naiskodukaitse and the Noored Kotkad," the minister said in a statement.

Ühtegi said in recent months membership in the Defense League has grown significantly and is approaching 30,000.

"Our increased membership means that the Defense League will be able to contribute nearly one-fifth more to national defense in the near future," he added.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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