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Operations abroad

The Estonian Defence Forces have been active in operations abroad since participating in the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) mission Croatia in 1995. The first combat experiences for the Estonian military were gained from Iraq in 2003.

Current operations


Operation Inherent Resolve is a United States of America’s leaded international military operation in Iraq. The operation aims to defeat Daesh and increase regional stability.

Estonian contribution

  • staff officer
  • training team 

Within the framework of Inherent Resolve Estonia participates in a multinational military-strategic team advising Iraqi ministries and security forces. By participating in the operation, Estonia is increasing the security of Europe and NATO.

Official website of the operation

NATO Mission Iraq is a non-combat training and advisory mission founded on partnership and inclusivity as well as on full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
The mission develops a self-sustaining Iraqi training capability by training Iraqi trainers on a variety of disciplines. It also aims to help Iraq build and sustain more effective, transparent and inclusive national security structures and institutions.
The direction to launch a new training mission in Iraq called NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) was issued by Allied leaders at the NATO Summit in Brussels in July 2018. The mission was established in Baghdad in October 2018.

Estonian contribution

  • staff officer
  • force protection unit

Official website of the mission

UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) is a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. It is mandated to monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese Armed Forces as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon, and coordinate its activities with the Governments of Lebanon and Israel. The mission also aims to ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.

Estonian contribution

  • staff officer

Until 2019 Estonian Defence Forces infantry platoon, NSE and staff officers served in Lebanon. From Estonia’s perspective, contributing to UNIFIL helps to restore peace and security specifically in the Middle East as well internationally.
From December 1996 to May 1997 Estonian detachment to UNIFIL was an infantry company as a part of the Norwegian battalion.

Official website of the mission

UNTSO (the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization) was the very first peacekeeping mission established by the United Nations. Since 1948 UNTSO Military Observers have been in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist other United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region. Since 1997 Estonian officers have participated in UNTSO as military observers.

Estonian contribution

  • three military observers

Estonian observers are serving in rotations in Israel, Lebanon and Syria. The yearlong mission consists of patrols, manning observation posts and staff work.

Official website of the mission

Operation Barkhane is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation led by France in support of Africa’s Sahel region countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) in their fight against Islamic extremism. Operation Barkhane supports the aim of UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA as well as EU training mission EUTM Mali to increase stability in Mali.

Operation Barkhane is France’s largest military operation (5000 soldiers) that aims to curb problems like terrorism and illegal immigration that originate from this area. The final goal of the operation is to stabilize the situation in this area to a degree that allows local authorities provide security in the Sahel region countries independently. Operation Barkhane was launched in August 1, 2014. In 2018, France invited Estonia to participate in the operation.

Estonian contribution

Up to 95 soldiers:

  • mechanized infantry platoon with NSE and staff officers
  • special forces unit

Participating in Operation Barkhane gives Estonia an opportunity of close co-operation with our allies, especially France.

Additional information about the operation

EUTM (European Union Training Mission) is a European Union mission in Mali. The purpose of the mission is strengthen the capabilities of the Malian Armed Forces, with the ultimate result being self-sustaining armed forces capable of contributing to the defence of their population and territory. Current unstable security situation in Mali is a threat to North Africa as well as Europe. It also impedes EU’s fight against human and drug trafficking.

In order to reach the goals of the mission, European Union contributes to the improvement of the capabilities of the Malian Armed Forces, supports the restoration of state control and the rule of law throughout Mali. One of EUTM’s strategic objectives is to support G5 Sahel, through the consolidation and improvement of the operational capabilities of its Joint Force, strengthening regional cooperation to address common security threats, especially terrorism and illegal trafficking.

Estonian contribution

  • 2 staff officers
  • training team

By taking part of the EUTM Mali, Estonia contributes to the effectuation of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy and to long-term stabilization of the area.

Estonian Defence Forces have been serving with the European Union training mission in Mali as of March, 2013.

Official website of the mission

MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) is a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali that supports the stabilisation of the area. The mission focuses on a wide range of duties such as ensuring security, stabilization and protection of civilians; supporting national political dialogue and reconciliation; and assisting the reestablishment of State authority, the rebuilding of the security sector, and the promotion and protection of human rights in that country.

Estonian contribution

  • two staff officers and an analyst

Estonia as a UN Member State contributes to maintaining peace and security in crisis zones. Participating in MINUSMA helps to curb international terrorism and illegal immigration and enhances Estonia’s visibility within the UN.

Official website of the mission

EUNAVFOR Med (European Union Naval Force Mediterranean) operation IRINI is a European Union’s military operation on the Mediterranean Sea. IRINI serves a continuation of the now-concluded mission SOPHIA which was launched in 2015 with the objective to restrain human trafficking between Libya and Europe.

In March 2020, EU launched operation IRINI to support the enforcement of the UN arms embargo on Libya. The mission is therefore mandated to carry out inspections of vessels off the coast of Libya suspected to be carrying arms to and from Libya. In addition, the operation is to support the application of UN measures to prohibit the illegal export of crude oil from Libya, and the training and building up of the Libyan navy and border guard.

Estonian contribution

  • logistics officer (in mission’s HQ in Rome)

By taking part of the mission, Estonia solidarily with other EU countries contributes to common military missions and managing the immigration crisis. Estonia has been taking part of the EUNAVFOR MED missions since 2015.

Official website of the mission

Central African Republic

  • EUFOR RCA 05.2014 – 08.2014

Mediterranean Sea


Horn of Africa

  • EUNAVFOR Somalia / operation ATALANTA 12.2010 – 05.2013



  • EU military operation Concordia 05.2003–12.2003


  • ISAF 03.2003 – 12.2014

  • Resolute Support 01.2015– 06.2021


  • KFOR 11.1999 – 10.2018

Israel, Syria


Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • IFOR, SFOR 04.1996–11.2004

  • NATO HQ Sarajevo 12.2004–06.2005

  • EUFOR ALTHEA 12.2005–12.2011


  • UNPROFOR 03.1995–10.1995

Last updated: 23. July 2021, 09:43

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