President visits elite UK amphibious unit on exercise with Defence League

President Kaljulaid chatting with members of Britain's elite Royal Marines, engaged in amphibious landing exercises as part of Baltic Protector 2019. Source: Social media

President Kersti Kaljulaid visited a major military exercise on the north Estonian coast Wednesday, involving joint operations between voluntary Defence League (Kaitseliit) personnel, and members of Britain's elite Royal Marines.

Exercise Baltic Protector deals with a scenario where additional troops would be deployed to Estonia in the event of a possible crisis, in conjunction with Defence League actions, the president noted on her social media page.

"All in all, this is yet another example of how allied pre-deployed battle groups have facilitated engagement in the rapid and vigorous deployment of NATO troops in a possible conflict," the president noted.

The NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroup, based at Tapa, east of Tallinn, is British-led and is currently centered around the Kings Royal Hussars armored regiment, as well as involving troops from other NATO nations including Belgium and France. Britain's Royal Air Force is also involved in Baltic air policing duties at Ämari air base.

Baltic Protector 2019 itself a major exercise which extends far beyond Estonia. Britain's Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) has involved more than 3,000 British troops and 16 navy ships since it got underway in May, ranging across the Baltic Sea and joining up with personnel from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and the Netherlands , as well as Estonia.

The Estonian phase of the exercise brings the type of covert amphibious raids, urban ambushes and counter-mine training at which the Royal Marines excel in their amphibious warfare role. The president observed the proceedings and spoke to members of the Royal Marines, at Salmistu harbor, east of Tallinn.

"Both the Royal Marines and the Defense League members from the Northern Defense District were delighted with the course of the exercise, the cooperation achieved and the lessons learned," the president noted in her post.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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