Minister on Exercise Ussisõnad: Vital that reservists can defend home areas

Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur chats with reservists taking part in Exercise Ussisõnad.
Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur chats with reservists taking part in Exercise Ussisõnad. Source: Ministry of Defense.

The role of territorial defense within Estonia's doctrine entails primarily the protection of local terrain, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) says.

Speaking in the context of a major, nationwide Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) reservist training exercise which started in late August and has progressed in turn across the four defensive districts of Estonia, the minister said: "Following the exercise it can be fairly stated that there we have more than 1,000 trained fighters in each county in Estonia who have the capability to resist the enemy in the event of a military threat and also, for example, protect critical objects."

The minister made his remarks on Saturday after visiting the Western component of exercise, taking place in Lääne County.

"More than half of Exercise Ussisõnad is now done, and I would like to thank all the reservists, defense allies and defense forces who have contribute to its success," the minister went on, speaking at the Eamets training ground in Pärnu County.

"Thanks to this exercise, Western Estonia and the islands are more secure, and our defense nationally has been strengthened too," Minister Pevkur added, via a press release. "Many thanks are also due to your families and employers for their support in your participation in the exercises; their support is invaluable."

10,000 reservists assigned to the national defense across four defense districts have been receiving additional training during the course of Exercise Ussisõnad (English: Parseltongue) 

The Western district exercise runs September 20-29.

Nationwide, Exercise Ussisõnad runs August 28 to October 8 this year. It is the largest mass exercise involving reservists to date, and those reservists appended to a new scheme which married the EDF more closely with the volunteer Defense League, in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and lessons drawn from the progress of that invasion.

The rationale means that EDF reservists can report to the Defense District nearest to where they live; the actual role this regional defense forces holds is primarily a light infantry one, compared with the heavy infantry role held by the 1st (North) and 2nd (South) EDF Infantry Brigades.

The Ussisõnad training team draws experienced staff thus from both the Defense League and the 1st Infantry Brigade, as well as from the Defense Forces Academy and the Estonian Special Operations Force (ESTSOF).

The four defense districts more-or-less follow the points of the compass, The Northern district exercise ran August 28 to September 10, the Northeastern district worked September 13 to September 22, the Southern district September 15th-24th and then in a second stint, September 29 to October 8.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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