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Gallery: Estonia commemorates ceasefire of 1920

Wednesday is a flag day as Estonia commemorates a ceasefire with Soviet Russia that entered into effect at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 3, 1920. At this time today church bells rang, and units of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) as well as the volunteer Estonian Defence League (EDL) assembled at memorials around the country and observed a minute of silence.

The ceremony in Tallinn included speeches by Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (IRL) and representatives of the Tallinn Secondary School of Science student body as well as the League of Estonian Corporations (EKL).

Archbishop Urmas Viilma of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) offered a prayer, and the Commander-in-Chief of the EDF as well as the Commander of the Estonian Defence League laid wreaths at the Victory Column on Tallinn's Freedom Square.

The Estonian War of Independence began on Nov. 28, 1918, when Soviet Russian troops crossed the Narva River and occupied a large part of the country by early 1919.

Along with volunteers from several countries, including Finland, the Estonian Army was able to stop and push back the Soviet invasion.

From March 1919 onward Estonia was back in control of most of its territory. A ceasefire was signed with the Soviet Russia on Dec. 31, 1919, and entered into effect on Jan. 3, 1920.

The ceasefire preceded the signing of the Treaty of Tartu on Feb. 2, 1920, in which Soviet Russia recognized Estonia's independence.

Estonia lost between 3,500 and 4,000 soldiers as well as more than 2,000 civilians in the war. The number of victims on the other side is unknown, though some 10,000 Soviet soldiers were captured.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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