Gallery: Almost two thirds of those called up joined snap 'Okas' exercise
On Wednesday, the snap "defense readiness" exercise 'Okas,' which took place mainly in Ida-Viru County, drew to a close. Sixty-five percent of reservists and Defense League members called up, participated in the exercise.
The final stage of the seven-day Okas exercise saw the Scout Battalion take on the Northeastern Territorial Defense District, who took up defensive positions.
Major Meelis Kütt, training commander of the Defense League's Viru Malev, had high expectations going into the exercise.
"(The aim was) for members of the Defense League to try out what they had planned in a practical situation, and gain experience, so that in the future it will be easier for them to act faster in the kind of situations when it is necessary to take up a defensive position as part of a company," said Major Kütt.
Major Vladimir Kolotõgin, the Scout Battalion's chief of staff, was also please, adding that Okas had shown most of the reservists had been trained well during their military service.
"The training that reservists have had is of a high standard. It is really good to see how, in just a few days, they are able to remember the skills they were taught during their active service or conscription," Kolotõgin said.
"Exercises like Okas are extremely important for precisely this reason. We temporarily mobilize our reservists and bring them back into their units, which increases the combat capability of our army to a really significant degree," said Major Kolotõgin.
Of the 2,861 reservists and Defense League members invited to participate in Okas, more than 1,800 arrived for duty.
Okas has been held annually each fall since 2016, and has been extended for the first time this year to incorporate additional exercises, which are set to continue until mid-October.
The final phase of this year's Okas involves the Estonian Defense Forces and Defense League linking up with NATO's defense and deterrence posture for an exercise that takes place throughout Estonia.
During the exercise, NATO forces, including some Estonian troops, will operate in the air, at sea and on land, including in urban areas. The exercise involves training in nationwide land defense and the integration of allied units, as well as for cooperation between state authorities, troops and Defense League members, during crisis situations.
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Editor: Michael Cole