Defense ministers agree on British Army units integration in Estonia

Ben Wallace (left) and Hanno Pevkur, at an earlier meeting in 2022.
Ben Wallace (left) and Hanno Pevkur, at an earlier meeting in 2022. Source: Ministry of Defense (Estonian).

An action plan is in place for the realization of a planned military divisional structure in Estonia which will include British Army units in its makeup, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) says.

Minister Pevkur, attending the two-day NATO Vilnius Summit, said: "For Estonia, it is very important that we are moving forward with the integration of the U.K. brigade into our division."

"We know exactly which units will come to Estonia, and we have a plan for exercises to rehearse reinforcement – how the brigade earmarked for our defense will deploy to Estonia and how it will operate within the Estonian division," he went on, via a ministry press release.

The development represented the realization of a long-term goal for Estonia, minister Pevkur, added.

The minister had met his U.K. opposite number, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, for bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Vilnius summit.

These covered the implementation of new regional defense plans, and culminated in the signing of a joint declaration outlining the bilateral steps between Estonia and the U.K.

Estonia's defense forces chief "has to know exactly which units and what kind of equipment he can count on in wartime," Pevkur went on.

The two ministers also discussed the embedding of British Army staff officers into the command structure of the planned division in Estonia.

NATO's Eastern Flank (June 2022). Source: NATO

"These two main points – reinforcement exercises and U.K. officers in the command structure – are an important part of strengthening Estonia's defense capability and putting the new regional plans into practice. On our side, we will continue the accelerated development of our infrastructure to support both the U.K.'s permanent presence and reinforcements in times of need," Pevkur went on.

The NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, centered on a battalion-sized British Army unit as deployed on a rotational basis, is stationed at Tapa is British-led and has been in place since early 2017.

The changed security situation from February 2022 prompted the announcement at the Madrid Summit just over a year ago that a NATO divisional command structure, and a British brigade-sized deployment within that division, would be set up.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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