Defense League chief: Ukraine war shows we are preparing the right way

Estonian Defense Leage (Kaitseliit) Brig.Gen. Riho Ühtegi.
Estonian Defense Leage (Kaitseliit) Brig.Gen. Riho Ühtegi. Source: ERR

Ukraine's response to Russia's full-scale military invasion has shown that the Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit) is well prepared. However, the war in Ukraine has also highlighted areas in which Estonia has room for improvement, said Defense League commander Brig.Gen. Riho Ühtegi in an interview on ETV's morning show.

"We have been learning from Ukraine, from the very first day of this ongoing war," Ühtegi said.

"We have gained confidence that we are doing the right thing, because we have already applied these same principles before."

According to Ühtegi, some of the new lessons Estonia has learned from Russia's war in Ukraine, include the need to develop its ability to conduct trench warfare, and the importance of having the necessary logistical support.

"The war has shown that Estonia's weak point is in ensuring the protection of the civilian population," Ühtegi said.

He also added, that it is also important for Estonia to be prepared to protect its electricity and communications infrastructure.

Ühtegi's first term as commander of the Defense League comes to a close at the end of this year. During his time in charge, the Defense League has grown in size from 5,000 to 10,000 members.

Ühhegi said that more than 4,500 new recruits have joined since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February.

"This year has also seen one of the largest numbers of withdrawals from the Defense League," Ühtegi said. "We have been contacting inactive members and, where necessary, have unenrolled them."


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Editor: Michael Cole

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