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Exercise Spring Storm begins in southeast Estonia

Estonian Defence Forces’ largest annual, 18-day exercise Spring Storm kicks off today. The exercise will involve approximately 6,000 troops from a total of ten allied countries this year.

The objective of the three-week exercise, known as Kevadtorm in Estonian, is to work on the integration of conscript and reserve units and assess the conscripts’ level of training before their official assignment to the country’s reserve forces.

The exercise’s final phase, which consists of tactical exercises, is scheduled to begin May 13, and final parade will take place on May 19 at Ridali Airfield, just north of the Southeast Estonian city of Võru.

Spring Storm, which is annually one of the biggest military exercises in Estonia, counts as the final exam for Estonian conscripts summoned in July and October of the previous year while also providing practical experience in managing military units for commanders and staff.

According to Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Lt. Gen. Riho Terras, this exercise — on Estonian soil — is also the best opportunity for Estonian forces to practice cooperation with Allied troops.

Participating over 1,000 allied troops will include the Baltic battalion of NATO’s Response Force NRF-16, which is comprised of a company each from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as a Netherlands´ mechanized infantry company with CV90 armoured combat vehicles; an additional company of Lithuanian conscripts, which will be under the command of the Estonian 1st Infantry Brigade’s Kalev Infantry Battalion; company-sized units from the US, the UK, and Germany; a team of specialists from Canada; Finnish staff officers; and Forward Air Controllers (FACs) from Germany and Poland.

Spring Storm 2016 will span Tartu, Põlva, Võru and Valga Counties in South and Southeast Estonia, primarily affecting Luunja, Mäksa, Võnnu, Ülenurme, Kambja, Haaslava, Meeksi, Vastse-Kuuste, Ahja, Mooste, Räpina, Veriora, Orava, Kanepi, Valgjärgve, Kõlleste, Laheda, Mikitamäe, Lasva, Rõuge, Sõmerpalu, Puka, and Õru Parishes.


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