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Allied battalion to arrive in Estonia by mid-April

British soldiers arriving in Estonia for the annual Spring Storm exercise.
British soldiers arriving in Estonia for the annual Spring Storm exercise. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The NATO battalion-sized battle group to be stationed in Estonia will arrive in the country within the next six weeks, or by mid-April, the chief of the allied contingent told the press on Wednesday.

British Col. Giles R. Harris, commander of the NATO contingent consisting of approximately 1,200 British and French personnel that is to arrive in Estonia this spring, said that the unit's equipment will arrive within the same timeframe as the troops.

The command element of the allied contingent is already present in Estonia.

"The stationing of the NATO battalion battle group led by the U.K. in Estonia will balance the security situation and carries a clear message regarding the resolve and unity of NATO," said Estonian Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna, who met with Harris on Wednesday.

The Estonian minister visited the command element of the NATO contingent at the military headquarters in Tallinn on Wednesday, where he was given an in-depth overview of the arrival of allies in Estonia by Harris.

Tsahkna said that by stationing battalion battle groups in its border states, NATO will ensure peace and stability in the territory of all member states. The deployment of international battle groups is part of the alliance's efforts aimed at strengthening its deterrence and defense posture and robustly demonstrates the strength of the alliance.

The NATO contingent in Estonia will be stationed at Tapa and will act in conjunction with Estonia's own 1st Infantry Brigade. The U.K. will supply 800 personnel together with Warrior infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), Challenger 2 tanks and reconnaissance drones stationed in Estonia as part of the battalion. France will contribute five Leclerc tanks, 13 IFVs and 300 soldiers to the battle group. The French contingent will be replaced by a Danish one in the second half of the year.

The NATO battle group will also take part in the Estonian Defence Forces' annual three-week Spring Storm exercise this May.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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