EDF reservists have until month-end to choose Defense League district

An EDF reservist doing kit admin at this year's large-scale Exercise Siil.
An EDF reservist doing kit admin at this year's large-scale Exercise Siil. Source: Mirjam Mõttus/ERR

Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) reservists have until the end of November to choose a volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) to be associated with under a new system which would see reservists deployed territorially, in the event of a conflict situation.

Until now most reservists had not been allocated along such lines, though the volunteer Defense League has always recruited territorially.

The development is targeted mainly on those who have served in the EDF since 1996 – those who have passed conscript training then been added to reservist lists – and also does not apply to those who belong to the rapid response reserve.

An additionally 10,000 EDF reservists, approximately, are to reinforce the Defense League in this way, tasked primarily with land defense and forming up light infantry units familiar with their immediate locale.

The Defense League will double as a result of the reinforcement, ERR reports.

Those concerned can check their status via the Eesti.ee web environment ad can inform the EDF in this way which Defense League district (Malev) they wish to be appended to.

The full assignation will take place next month.

Eero Rebo, Defense League Chief of General Staff, told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that: "At the end of November, we will most likely be able to provide more accurate figures on how many people have decided to define their place in land defense."

The EDF will also provides training staff, and large-scale reservist training exercises are planned for September in order for personnel to get acquainted with one another, AK reported.

The new force will receive equipment from the EDF, including Swedish Ak4 assault rifles as the mainstay firearm.

More than 500 reservists are to be added to the Lääne County Defense League District, for instance, while vehicles and minibuses, among other equipment, are to be taken on as part of the total resource.

Commander of the Lääne County Defense League District Andres Väli said: "Certainly, transporting personnel with buses will solve a lot. When materiel needs transporting, then trucks and other vehicles must also be utilized. We have submitted a request to the Defense Resources Agency (KRA)X, via the EDF General Staff, for 250 vehicles."

Raivo Olev, an businessman from eastern Estonia who has already ferried vehicles to Ukraine, told AK that while the roads there require new tires and good suspension, Estonian roads and tracks are more navigable than in Ukraine, even in the warm season, though he still had the following advice for the best use of vehicles: "All-terrain capabilities and decent tires [are needed]. In Estonia, the winch comes into play even more, a it is not possible to use this in many places in Ukraine."

"Night vision devices create a situation where it is viable to drive in complete darkness without lights; with a proper night vision device you can see to a distance of 150m," he added.

The KRA has had the capacity to sequester vehicles since 2018; in the case of, for instance the need to construct roads, or fortifications or barriers, the need can arise for these vehicles to come with drivers also, not just the vehicles alone.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mari Peegel

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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