Estonia's largest defense training exercise Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) started on Monday and will last until May 26. Approximately, 14,000 personnel will take part.
Land, air, and naval forces, including the division staff, 1st Infantry Brigade, 2nd Infantry Brigade, Support Command, Cyber Command, and other Defence Forces and Defence League will take part in the annual exercise, totaling around 9,000 personnel. Around half are reservists.
The rest are made up of Estonia's UK-led NATO battlegroup and personnel from 11 allied NATO countries.
"Knowing our homeland landscape is crucial for defending Estonia, and that is exactly what we practice together with our allies during the exercise," said Lt. Col. Feliks Roodvee, the planning officer responsible for Spring Storm 2023.
"Today, the units started forming and then they will move to the field. The expectations for the exercise are high and we have all the prerequisites to fulfill the objectives of Spring Storm."
For the first time, the exercise is led by the Division established last year.
The Defense Forces (EDF) will check the synchronization of battle plans, cooperation between command levels, and the readiness of units to perform combat tasks.
Activities will mainly take place in North Estonia and during this time there will be more defense equipment and convoys on the road than usual.
Additionally, allied military aircraft will be more active in the skies above Estonia, especially Ämari, Tallinn and Lääne and Ida-Viru counties.
Various equipment, including blank rounds, training grenades and flares, will be used in the exercises and the use of heavy equipment, aircraft, and simulation devices generates more noise than usual. The EDF suggests parents explain what is happening to children and keep animals scared of noise indoors if possible.
"We spend a lot of time outside the training areas of the Defence Forces. This time, our most visible footprint and activities are those in Northern Estonia. Where we are trying to defend Estonia both on land and at sea," Maj. Gen.Veiko-Vello Palm told Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera."
Spring Storm is the EDF's largest annual military exercise, during which military operations planning and implementation are practiced, and cooperation between Estonian and allied units is enhanced.
Editor: Helen Wright