Minister unable to say how many Estonian volunteers fighting for Ukraine

Hanno Pevkur.
Hanno Pevkur. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

It is currently not known exactly how many Estonian citizens have volunteered to serve in Ukraine's International Legion or in Ukrainian forces engaged in the war of aggression launched by the Russian Federation, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) says.

Speaking to ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Monday, the minister said that this is mainly due to a change in Ukraine's approach to the deployment of foreign volunteers.

He said: "Whereas earlier there had been a more or less clear rule regarding the defense forces of Ukraine, how foreign fighters are registered and in which units they serve, as of now, Ukraine has fundamentally changed its attitude, and foreign volunteers in Ukraine can essentially be serving in all units."

Pevkur had been in Kyiv on Monday, meeting with Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"There is no inherent obligation for anyone to inform us of their actions," Pevkur added.

"Should someone inform us, then we will be aware of that, but as of now, no one has approached the [Estonian] embassy [in Ukraine] or the [Estonian] Ministry of Defense, to say that they have gone to fight for Ukraine," Pevkur went on.

The support of the international community and the continuation of military aid remain important for Zelenskyy and for Ukraine, Pevkur added.

Reports came in at the weekend that Tanel Kriggul, formerly of the Estonian Defense Forces' (EDF) Scouts Battalion (Scoutspataljon) and who had volunteered to fight in the International Legion of Ukraine had been killed in a Russian drone strike on a building he was staying in near Lyman, Donetsk oblast.

This brought the known total of Estonian citizens killed fighting for Ukraine to two, since the start of the invasion in February 2022.

Former EDF officer Ivo Jurak was killed near Bakhmut, Donetsk oblast, earlier this year.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Ringvaade.' reporter Marko Reikop.

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