Exercise Siil 2018 kicks off in Estonia

  • 02 May. 2018 -
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  • Last updated: 08 May. 2018 13:28

Exercise Siil 2018, involving over 15,000 Allied and partner troops from 19 different countries, as well as forces from NATO's enhanced Forward Presence, kicked off in Estonia on Wednesday (2 May 2018).

The exercise focuses on defensive territorial maneuvers in the context of both conventional and unconventional warfare. In addition to military forces, the exercise brings together Estonia´s volunteer paramilitary Defence League, the Women’s Home Defence Organization, and police and rescue workers to train a broad-based defence.

“Everyone´s role is important, it´s crucial that the state and its citizens work together in defending the country,” explained General Riho Terras, Commander of Estonia's Defence Forces.

Over 30 observers from 15 countries, including from Russia and Belarus, as well as from the OSCE and other international organisations, are monitoring the exercise.

The exercise is divided into two stages. During the first stage, lasting until 6 May, the Defence League and Defence Forces train together to achieve combat readiness. 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 an evacuation of the local population, with support from the Women’s Home Defence Organization.

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