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17,000 reservists called up to EDF training exercises in 2024

Reservists in autumn 2023.
Reservists in autumn 2023. Source: Kaitseväe Peastaap / mil.ee

Almost 17,000 reservists will be asked to participate in Defense Force (EDF) exercises this year to refresh their skills.

"The main strength of the Estonian Defense Forces and our defense is our reservists. 2024 will see dozens of different training sessions aimed at raising the skills of this core force to a new level and thereby strengthening the defense capabilities of our country and the reservists' knowledge of their role in national defense," said the Commander of the Combat Readiness Division of the Defense General Staff, Lt. Cl. Tõnis Vau.

He said 17,000 is a huge number. In comparison, 6,000 reservists took part in exercises in 2018.

"In just a few years, growth has almost tripled, bringing with it recognition for the development of national defense and the vital role of the reserve forces," Vau said.

The main goal of this year's exercises is to refresh training for reservists. Another is to introduce new weapons and equipment into units, such as the R20 assault rifle and NEGEV machine guns.

Reservists will also start learning the procedures for operating HIMARS multiple rocket launchers which will be adopted by the EDF in 2025. They will work in cooperation with the US HIMARS unit currently in Estonia.

More than 7,000 reservists from EDF units will take part in exercises this year and approximately 10,000 from the Defense League's territorial defense.  

Exercises taking place throughout the year

Exercises will take place throughout 2024 and the number of participants will vary in size from a few specialists to several hundred people.

The biggest exercise Springstorm (Kevadtorm) will be held in May and includes more than 7,000 reservists.

In September and October, over 4,000 reservists will also take part in exercises.

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Editor: Mait Ots, Helen Wright

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