Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna welcomed the French servicemen who landed this afternoon at Ämari Air Base as part of the Allied battalion combat group that will be ensuring the security of NATO.
“The defence of Paris, London and Copenhagen starts from Narva. The presence of our allies here is necessary for ensuring the security of NATO as a whole. The allied relationship is based on mutual support,” said Minister of Defence Margus Tshakna. “Similar to Estonians, the French also value freedom and solidarity. We are thankful for their contribution to ensuring the unity of NATO and its common values.”
A total of 140 members of the French Armed Forces arrived in Estonia today, increasing the total number of French soldiers in Estonia to 190. The process of transferring French combat equipment to Estonia ended last week.
The size of the allied battalion combat group, which is stationed at Tapa and will be operating within the composition of the 1st Infantry Brigade of the Estonian Defence Forces, is 1200 allied soldiers, with the United Kingdom serving as the lead country, and contributions being made by France and Denmark. France is contributing 300 servicemen to the combat group, which will be equipped with Leclerc tanks, VBCI infantry fighting vehicles and VAB armoured vehicles. The French will be serving at Tapa for the next eight months.
Last June, at the Warsaw Summit, the leaders of NATO’s 28 member countries decided, as a result of the changed security situation, to station alliance combat groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.