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Minister of Defence presented the outgoing president with the highest decoration awarded by the Ministry of Defence
Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso awarded Toomas Hendrik Ilves the Order of Merit of the Ministry of Defence, First Class for exceptional merit in strengthening Estonia's security.
“During his term in office, President Ilves made an exceptional contribution to building-up, developing, and ensuring Estonia's national defence, which has made Estonia a reliable ally,” said Hanso. “The steadfast and unconditional support offered by President Ilves to Estonia's soldiers, both at home and on foreign missions, has helped raise the morale of Estonia’s soldiers.”
“President Ilves has steadfastly, imaginatively and in a distinguished manner succeeded in focusing international attention on Estonia’s security situation, while also achieving the broad international support that is necessary in order to ensure Estonia’s security more widely, especially when it comes to developing and implementing the methods of deterrence employed by our Allies in order to preserve security across the entire Baltic region,” said Hanso.
The Order of Merit of the Ministry of Defence, First Class is the highest decoration awarded by the Ministry of Defence, and is awarded for exceptional merit in the development of national defence. Prior to President Ilves, this cross of merit has been awarded to 21 distinguished individuals: Estonian politicians, members of society and high-ranking military officers, as well as important diplomats from partner countries and civil servants.
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.