Participants in the upcoming large-scale Spring Storm military exercise will inevitably end up causing damage to smaller roads as well as forests and fields, but the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) will repair or pay for any damage done, Commander of the EDF Maj. Gen. Martin Herem said on Monday morning.
"We're likely going to start damaging smaller roads; we've done so every year, although we do try to avoid it," Herem said on ETV morning program "Terevisioon."
According to the defense chief, however, the EDF has always followed up and either repaired damaged roads themselves or paid for their repair.
"If anyone sees any sort of damage, they should tell us," he said. "If we see it ourselves, we will make note of it, and we will always contact the owner."
Herem said that landowners who have agreed to allow the use of their lands for EDF exercises deserve thanks. "Attitudes have generally been reasonable, and claims for damages are becoming increasingly honest and smaller," he noted. "We try to prevent damages, of course."
The defense chief warned that it may even happen that a combat vehicle ends up taking out a fence somewhere.
"Foreigners in particular are eager to react to their opponents," he admitted. "Also, for example, if you say 'You can't turn down that road,' but who understands sometimes where one length of road begins and another ends? And then these damages occur."
He confirmed that the EDF will continue to keep local residents up to date on the exercise via the media and social media as well as posted signs.
Monday marks the beginning of Estonia's annual large-scale multinational military exercise Spring Storm, which this year will include over 9,000 troops from some 13 countries. This year, the exercise will take place primarily in Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru Counties.
Editor: Aili Vahtla