GALLERY: NATO ships arrive in Tallinn for weekend

Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) called in Tallinn on Friday in a scheduled weekend visit to replenish supplies and prepare for upcoming exercises.

During the visit, the vessels are to make preparations for returning to sea and will provide crew members the opportunity to rest for a few days, military spokespeople in Tallinn said. Following their visit, the NATO ships will remain in Estonia to carry out several exercises and prepare for an upcoming mine clearance operation.

"The presence of NATO naval units and clearance of World War-era mines will make Estonian waterways safer for us all," said Cmdr. Peeter Ivask, commander of the fleet of the Estonian Navy.

Commander of SNMCMG1 Cmdr. Gvido Ļaudups on Friday also visited the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) and the NATO command element and met with Ministry of Defence Undersecretary for Defence Planning Meelis Oidsalu.

As of June 29, SNMCMG1 is under the command of Ļaudups, who took over the position from Estonian Cmdr. Johan-Elias Seljamaa of the Estonian Navy. The current flagship of the group is the Latvian Navy's minelayer LVNS Virsaitis (A53). The Estonian minehunter EML Sakala (M314) is likewise currently part of the international unit.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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