NATO to double military contingent in Estonia: Defense Minister

The United Kingdom has already made the decision to send about 900 troops to Estonia and the first groups have already arrived, Laanet said.

Tallinn: NATO allies will double their military presence in Estonia within the next two to three months to ensure “deterrence” on the eastern flank, Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet said on Tuesday.

“Within the next two-three months, NATO allies will double their military presence in Estonia to maintain deterrence on the alliance’s eastern flank,” Laanet told the Estonian parliament in a briefing on the security situation in Ukraine.

The United Kingdom has already made the decision to send about 900 troops to Estonia and the first groups have already arrived, Laanet said.

“France and Denmark will also provide additional contingents of 300 and 250 troops,” he added.

Last Thursday, Russia launched a special operation to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine, responding to calls for help from the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics in countering the aggression of Ukrainian troops. The Russian Defense Ministry said the special operation is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only and that the civilian population is not in danger. Moscow says it has no plans to occupy Ukraine.

In 2016, NATO decided to deploy multinational battalions on a rotational basis to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland at their request. A NATO combat battalion group of about 1,200 troops has been deployed in the Estonian military town of Tapa since April 2017. The NATO International Battalion is led by the United Kingdom, with the participation of military units from France and Denmark on a rotational basis.

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