3,000-strong British brigade will take part in Estonian exercises in 2025

UK troops in Estonia, November 2022.
UK troops in Estonia, November 2022. Source: Minister of Defense

A brigade of at least 3,000 British soldiers will participate in military exercises in Estonia in 2025, the Ministry of Defense said on Thursday,

There are approximately 900 British troops in Estonia as part of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) and the UK has assigned more troops to protect the eastern flank.

This week, Germany and Canada announced they would send more troops to Lithuania and Latvia on a permanent basis, but Estonia has said it does not want to follow this path and is happy for them to stay in the UK and train regularly in Estonia.

"The UK has assigned a reinforcement brigade to our defense, in addition to the eFP Battle Group already in Estonia, and together with them we will train for a full deployment in 2025. If possible, even earlier with different parts of the brigade," Tuuli Duneton, undersecretary for defense policy at the Ministry of Defense, told ERR.

Tuuli Duneton Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

She said the UK forces participate in Estonia's large-scale exercises every year and next year the Very High Readiness Air Assault Brigade Combat Team will take part in exercise Spring Storm (Kevadtorm).

In 2024, the UK will also be the framework country of NATO's rapid reaction force.

"This kind of solution is good on both counts — both the Rapid Reaction Force and the brigade subcontracted to us can participate in exercises here," Duneton said.

Units of the armored brigade assigned to Estonia, which is stationed at "high readiness", have already participated in exercises or visited here as part of the eFP in the past, the Ministry of Defense told ERR. It will also participate in Spring Storm in 2025.

The eFP in June 2022. Source: NATO

The joint statement signed by Estonian and British defense ministers on Wednesday, in which the UK pledges to regularly exercises its troops in the country if Estonia provides facilities, is also viewed positively.

The number of permanent officers has also been increased, the UK said.

The eFP first arrived in Estonia in 2017 and consists of British, French, Danish, and Icelandic forces. Similar battlegroups exist in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Hungary.

At NATO's Madrid summit in 2022, Allies agreed to send or assign brigades to the Baltics. It has been debated ever since whether they would be stationed in the region or in their home countries.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Helen Wright

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