PPA and Defense League to create new border defense unit

Defense League volunteers.
Defense League volunteers. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

Estonia's voluntary Defense League and the Police and Boarder Guard Board (PPA) are working together to create a border defense subdistrict, tasked with bolstering border defenses in crises.

Estonian history and Russia's recent invasion of Ukraine have shown that volunteers have a crucial role to play in defending against armed aggression. Until now, border cooperation between the Defense League and the PPA has been limited to joint exercises. But the Defense League's Northeast Defense District is now spearheading the creation of a border defense subdistrict (malevkond) to better include and train volunteers who want to help defend the border.

"We will create a tactical Defense League unit based on the same training principles we use for other volunteers. The training will be handled by the East Prefecture of the PPA and the Defense League, said Lt. Col. Jaanus Ainsalu, commander of the Defense League district.

He added that Defense League volunteers from all over Estonia are welcome to join the new unit. "We want to see former border guards, police officers and other active people who are concerned with what's happening on our boundary line," Ainsalu said.

"We are creating a unit that will free up PPA resources for addressing more acute problems. And should there be a crisis, we will be able to carry out infantry tasks, which are patrolling and defending the border," the colonel said.

Svetlana Eemann, head of assistant police officers for the East Prefecture, said that working with the Defense League will add another dimension in terms of involving volunteers.

"Assistant police officers form an inseparable part of police forces in Estonia. The system demonstrates that the country trusts its volunteers, which in turn shows that the people trust their country. All police officers have their crisis roles, which will now be extended to volunteers to ensure readiness for unexpected developments."

The meeting at which the unit's creation will be formalized is scheduled to take place inside October.

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Editor: Mait Ots, Marcus Turovski

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