Renewed: 21.04.2017, 13:25

20 March 2017 18:18

The first group of French servicemen arrived in Estonia

This afternoon, the first group of French servicemen – who will be serving as part of the NATO combat group – landed at Ämari Air Base.

“We are here to show that France contributes to cooperation between NATO allies and also to serve together with our allies of Estonia and the United Kingdom,” said the commander of the French contingent, Colonel Michel de Mesmay, adding that French soldiers have past experience involving good cooperation with Estonians in the Central-African Republic as well as anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

The first 50 French servicemen who are part of the combat group arrived in Estonia today. France will be contributing a total of 300 servicemen to the combat group which will be stationed at Tapa. The French will be contributing to the combat group for the next eight months, after which they will hand over responsibility to the Danes.

The combat group is comprised of nearly 1200 allied soldiers. France has announced that it will be contributing a unit of 300 servicemen, who will be armed with Leclerc tanks, VBCI infantry fighting vehicles, and VAB armoured vehicles. The United Kingdom has announced that its contribution to the combat group will be an armoured unit of 800 servicemen, which will be armed with Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, as well as AS90 mobile artillery, and armoured vehicles.

Last June, at the Warsaw Summit, the leaders of NATO’s 28 member countries decided, as a result of the changed security situation, to deploy NATO battalion combat groups to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The United Kingdom is the lead country for the NATO combat group to be stationed in Estonia, with France and Denmark being contributing countries.

We are connected to the Brits, the Danes, and the French by long-term defence related ties and a brotherhood in arms arising from joint participation in international military operations. 

Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, 717 1900, mil[at]mil.ee, Juhkentali 58, EE15007, Tallinn, Estonia.

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