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Minister of Defence presented awards to peacekeepers returned from Lebanon
Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso presented mission medals to Estonian Defence Forces Infantry Platoon ESTPLA-20, which returned last week from the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission to Lebanon.
While presenting the medals, the Minister of Defence stated that by participating in the UNIFIL mission Estonia is ensuring its own security, demonstrating solidarity with its allies.
“In the defence of our nation we are relying not only on our own defensive capabilities, but also placing trust in our allies. To ensure that our allies will be ready to help us, we must in turn understand their security related concerns, many of which are located on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea," said Hanso. “Therefore, Estonia is contributing to security in Lebanon and Mali, and we are applying for a mandate to support our allies in Iraq.“
ESTPLA-20 participated in the six-month peacekeeping mission UNIFIL in South Lebanon as part of the Finnish-Irish (FINIRISHBATT) battalion. During their rotation, ESTPLA-20 servicemen performed a total of 474 different patrols, of which nearly half were at night.
Infantry Platoon ESTPLA-20, which returned home, was replaced by Infantry Platoon ESTPLA-21, which will continue serving in one company along with servicemen from Finland. Including staff officers, nearly 40 Estonian servicemen are currently serving in Lebanon as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission UNIFIL.
This summer, the allies will be carrying out large-scale training exercises on the Baltic Sea. The United States will be leading the annual international Baltic region training exercise BALTOPS, while the United Kingdom will be leading the deployment exercise Baltic Protector.