Increased traffic on roads in Estonia's Ida-Viru and Lääne-Viru Counties is expected for Saturday, as Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) as well as allied forces materiel is moving into the training battle zone of this year's Spring Storm exercise. The more frequent movement of military convoys will continue until about May 10, the EDF said.
The Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) 2019 exercise is mostly taking place in Estonia's Virumaa region, covering parts of both Ida-Viru and Lääne-Viru Counties. In connection with units moving into the area, residents as well as travelers can expect to see increased movement of military vehicles and troops.
The military cautions drivers who encounter large machinery on the road: "The units are moving in convoys," EDF Maj. Gen. Indrek Sirel, in charge of the exercise, told media on Friday. "I'd like to ask everyone on the road to be careful, as these are large machines, and their drivers have a narrower field of vision."
Saturday will see the heaviest traffic, the EDF said, as today the units of Estonia's 1st Infantry Brigade are moving into the training battle areas of Spring Storm.
More than 40 convoys on the move
The EDF added in a Friday press release that there are more than 40 convoys moving towards Estonia's northeast, typically with some 30 vehicles per convoy and moving at a speed of some 70 km/h. The distance between vehicles is roughly 100 meters.
Most of the traffic will be moving along the Tallinn-Narva highway. Troops have been moving since the early hours of Saturday, and will continue until well into the evening, the EDF said.
In the Rakvere area, military police will in places regulate traffic. The densest traffic is expected between Lasna and Kohtla-Järve throughout Saturday.
Over 9,000 participants, from approximately 13 countries, are taking part in this year's Spring Storm, including units from the 1st Infantry Brigade, elements of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, units from Support Command, as well as other units of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) and the volunteer Estonian Defence Leage (Kaitseliit), together with personnel from the British-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP).
Much of Spring Storm takes place in the hinterland of Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru Counties, though some maneuvers are to be carried out in Harju County, surrounding Tallinn, and Jõgeva County in south-central Estonia.
Editor: Dario Cavegn