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Renewed: 07.05.2018, 16:11

07 May 2018 16:10

Over 30 international observers monitor Siil exercise in Estonia

Over 30 international observers monitor Siil exercise in Estonia Over 30 international observers monitor Siil exercise in Estonia

Over 30 observers from 15 countries, including from Russia and Belarus, as well as from the OSCE and other international organisations monitored the Siil exercise currently under way in Estonia.

According to Norwegian representative to the OSCE, Brigadier General Bjoern Tore Solberg, with the 15 nations the visit underlines the importance of transparency based on Vienna document.

“We are really impressed as the observers from the OSCE of this huge defence will that we have learned during this observation. Even talking to conscripts, NCOs, officers that are professionals, there´s a really strong will to defend Estonia and to do this in a combined and joint effort with Allies,” Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Westermann from the Arms Control, Disarmament, and WMD Non-proliferation Centre at NATO Headquarters, said.

“We do have an enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group here and this a good experience to see how they integrate and work together,” he added.

Exercise Siil 2018, involving over 15,000 Allied and partner troops from 19 different countries, as well as forces from NATO's enhanced Forward Presence, started in Estonia Tuesday, May 2. Nearly 1,800 professional; 2,600 conscript; 9,000 voluntary Defence League and reserve and 2,100 Allied and partner troops are participating in the biggest training event Estonia has hosted since re-gaining independence.

In addition to military forces, Estonia´s volunteer paramilitary Women’s Home Defence Organization, police and rescue workers contribute to train the broad-based defence. The exercise focuses on defensive territorial manoeuvres in the context of both conventional and unconventional warfare.

The second phase starting this week will mainly take place in Võru, Põlva, Valgamaa and Northern Latvia. In this phase, Estonia´s 2nd Infantry Brigade together with Allied and partner troops train in cooperation against the opposing 1st Infantry Brigade and the NATO battlegroup units.

Observers from Belorussia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ukraine, U.S., NATO HQ and SHAPE observed the exercise.

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

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