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Parseltongue will echo across Estonia

This week the exercise “Ussisõnad” (Parseltongue) got underway in Estonia, during which nearly 10,000 reservists from the territorial defence units will refresh their individual basic military knowledge and skills. Additionally, maneuvers will be conducted at the platoon and company levels to practice engaging the adversary, setting up ambushes, and erecting barriers.

“With Operation Parseltongue, we will increase our wartime force by 10,000 personnel. Essentially, this is one of the largest quantitative leaps in the history of the Defence Forces. Undoubtedly, this presents a significant challenge for both the Defence Forces and the Defence League (Kaitseliit), but the security situation around us does not grant us the right to undertake these endeavors at a slower pace or on a smaller scale,” stated General Martin Herem, the Commander of the Defence Forces.

“However, to achieve the goal, the role of reservist platoon and company commanders is of paramount importance in leading and training their untis. In a way, we are enhancing our defensive capability similarly to Ukraine in March 2022, but we have had a full year of preparation, and we are not currently engaged in combat,” added General Herem.

The majority of participants in Parseltongue are reservists who were assigned to the Territorial Defence units in the year 2022, with over five years having passed since their conscription, and whose former positions have been filled by reservists who have completed their service more recently. Nonetheless, their training continues to enable them to fulfill military duties.

The more intensive phase of Parseltongue will take place from August 28th to October 8th. During this period, all Territorial Defence Regions of the Defence League in collaboration with Defence Force’s units will organize training for the assigned units. The training for each unit is divided into training for leaders, training for the main body, and military maneuver excesises.

Generally, the training organized by each territorial defense region lasts for about 10 days. The more active training periods are expected by region as follows:

  • Territorial Defense Region North: August 28th – September 10th
  • Territorial Defense Region Northeast: September 13th – September 22nd
  • Territorial Defense Region West: September 20th – September 29th
  • Territorial Defense Region South: September 15th – September 24th, and September 29th – October 8th

Territorial defence is a part of the wartime structure of the Defence Forces, covering the entirety of Estonia like a unified security blanket. The structure of territorial defence is manned by reservists assigned to wartime positions and by Defence League members who have taken up the military obligation.


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