Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna emphasised the importance of the exercise on the development of Estonia’s independent defence capability as well as the promotion of practical international defence cooperation, on Tuesday, while familiarising himself with the initial phase of the Defence Forces training exercise “Spring Storm”.
According to the Minister of Defence, Spring Storm has evolved into a training exercise of international importance, in which the security policy dimension is clear. “For many years, units from different countries have participated in Spring Storm, although this year’s exercise is a great step forward," said Tsahkna. “Participating for the first time within the composition of the 1st Infantry Brigade of the Defence Forces is the NATO battalion battlegroup that recently arrived in Estonia, thereby achieving integration with Estonia’s military national defence system. Another important sign is the participation of a Finnish Defence Forces unit in the Estonian exercise for the first time."
A total of 9000 servicemen, reservists, and Defence League members, along with Allied and partner soldiers, will be participating in Spring Storm. In addition to Estonians and the British, French, Danes and Americans stationed at Tapa, servicemen from Canada, Germany, Holland, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Georgia will be participating in Spring Storm. Aircraft belonging to the United States, Poland, Belgium, and Spain will be seen in the skies above.
“Spring Storm is Estonia's national defence success story, the importance of which in the development of our practical military defence has been incredibly important,” said Minister of Defence Tsahkna. “Today, I was once again convinced by the high level of professionalism of our servicemen and the readiness of our Defence Forces to carry out extensive operations.
According to Tsahkna, the dedication exhibited by Estonia’s servicemen is one of the most important factors in the success of Spring Storm. “I thank all servicemen for their good service and wish them success in this difficult training period. I am convinced that this year’s Spring Storm will also be a rousing success thanks to the skills and experience of Estonia’s servicemen,” said Tshakna.
During the three-week exercise the Defence Forces will be assessing the actions of the infantry brigade consisting of conscripts in various types of combat and their training prior to assignment to the reserves. In addition they will be assessing cooperation between the infantry and different types of weapons, as well as between staff, units and Allies. Units will begin moving today to the training area, which will be followed on 10 May by refresher training and cooperation training, where subordinate units of the 1st and 2nd infantry brigades will practice operating within the composition of a battalion and brigade.