Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (IRL/Pro Patria) said on Sunday that Estonians' readiness to defend their country is demonstrated by specific actions taken, such as the large-scale exercise Siil, which officially ended on Sunday.
"Siil is a very important means to demonstrate our deterrence," Luik said. "Our task is to show our opponents that attacking us would be so risky that the costs of such a step would outweigh any potential gain."
According to the minister, signalling Estonians' readiness to defend their country needs to be made clear to "the other side" as well, a task for which a large-scale exercise like Siil is well suited.
Luik also confirmed that beyond military aspects, close political ties to Estonia's allies are an important element of NATO deterrence in the Baltic region. Maintaining and strengthening this relationship is one of the bases of Estonia's defence policy, Luik said, which is one of the reasons why Estonia contributes and will continue to contribute to allies' missions abroad, such as NATO's presence in Afghanistan or the French-led antiterror Operation Barkhane in Mali.
Luik made his remarks at the opening of this year's first National Defence Course, a format arranged for politicians, high-ranking officials, Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) officers, journalists and other people influential in Estonian society. The course has been held twice a year since 1999.
Editor: Aili Vahtla