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Siil exercise starts in Estonia

Siil exercise involving over 15,000 Allied and Partner Nations´ troops from 19 different countries, as well as from five different NATO bodies, including enhanced Forward Presence troops has kicked off in Estonia today, May 2.

In addition to military, Siil – one of the biggest Allied National Exercises in the region this year, brings together volunteer paramilitary Defence League, Women’s Home Defence Organization, police and rescue workers to train broad-based defence, a concept that the country adopted after restoring independence. The exercise will focus on the defensive territorial maneuvers in the context of both conventional and unconventional warfare.

According to Estonia´s Commander of Defence Forces, General Riho Terras the modern defence involves actors both from the military as well as from the private and public sector. “Everyone´s role is important, it´s crucial that the state and its citizens work together in defending the country,” he added.

The exercise is divided into two stages: during the first stage, lasting until the May 6, the formation of the Defence League and Defence Forces will be initiated and combat readiness achieved. Light infantry companies and enforcement units of the Defence League will be training internal security tasks with the Police and Border Guard, including carrying out evacuation of the local population with support from the Women’s Home Defence Organization.

The second phase or the battle-training phase lasts from May 7 to 13 mainly in Võru, Põlva, Valgamaa and Northern Latvia, when the Estonia´s 2nd Infantry Brigade together with Allied and Partner troops train in cooperation against the opposing 1nd Infantry Brigade and the NATO Battle Group units.

Over 30 observers, also from Russia and Belorussia, as well as from OSCE and other international organisations will monitor the exercise.

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