The security situation in Europe has changed considerably following the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine. To ensure the security situation and strengthen deterrence and collective defence, NATO, together with its allies, has increased its presence in the Baltic Sea region.
Allied battle group in Estonia
In June of 2016, at the Warsaw Summit, the leaders of NATO’s 28 member countries decided, as a result of the changed security situation, to station alliance battle groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
The purpose of the battle group stationed in Estonia is to demonstrate solidarity, to strengthen Estonia’s independent defence capability, to deter Russia and keep the peace; in other words, the battle group is ready, if necessary, to stand with the Estonian Defence Forces against Russian aggression, in order to buy time until the arrival of Allied Forces.
As a result of long-term and fruitful military cooperation, the United Kingdom, acting as the lead country, and France and Denmark, acting as contributing countries, decided to deploy units to Estonia.
The Allied battalion battle group, which arrived in Estonia in the spring of 2017, and is operating at Tapa within the composition of the 1st Infantry Brigade of the Defence Forces, is comprised of nearly 1200 servicemen. The United Kingdom is contributing more than 800 servicemen, who will be equipped with Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, and AS90 self-propelled guns. France is contributing a unit with 300 servicemen to the combat group, which will be armed with Leclerc tanks, VBCI infantry fighting vehicles and VAB armoured vehicles. The French will be serving at Tapa for eight months, after which they will be replaced by a Danish unit.
The land forces battle group has independent combat capability provided by all of the equipment and armaments that are standard for armoured units: combat tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, pioneer armoured vehicles, and various other types of armoured support vehicles (communication, medical, logistics).
United States Army unit in Estonia
Since April 2013, a U.S. Army unit has been stationed in Estonia.
U.S. servicemen train together with Estonian servicemen and carry out multifaceted training.
In the near future, the United States will spend tens of millions of dollars on strengthening Estonia's defence. The readiness of the Americans to invest in infrastructure in Estonia is a clear message that our good ally is ready to make a long-term commitment to ensuring our security.
NATO Baltic air-policing mission
With the arrival of allied forces in the spring 2014, Ämari Air Base became a NATO Baltic air-policing mission base.
Fighter aircraft stationed at Ämari and taking part in the NATO air-policing mission will strengthen our security. Since the spring of 2014, allied aircraft have been stationed at Ämari on four-month rotations. In addition, air force training is also carried out in the airspace here.
Ämari Air Base is one of the most modern in Europe, with very good training conditions and the Defence Forces are ready to receive allied aircraft and support personnel twenty-four hours a day.
NATO reaction speed is being raised
At the Wales Summit, NATO members adopted a Readiness Action Plan.
The Action Plan calls for the following measures for strengthening NATO’s deterrence posture:
- The creation of a brigade sized rapid reaction force, capable of reacting to any kind of crisis in a short period of time.
- Necessary armaments and equipment will be prepositioned in NATO’s eastern border countries.
- NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) – which are small headquarters – will be established in six countries (including Estonia), in order to adjust NATO’s command structure to the new security situation.
Investments in the presence of allies
The presence of allies is important for Estonia, and the government is making the requisite investments.
The government has set aside EUR 40 million for building the necessary infrastructure for the allies over the next five years.
The funds will be used to build barracks, develop the Defence Forces’ central training area and build prepositioned warehouses for supplies and armaments.
The necessary infrastructure will also be built for NATO command elements.
Our goal is to be a good host for our allies.
Liitlasüksused on Eestis
2014 kevadel muutus Ämari lennubaas liitlaste saabumisega NATO Balti õhuturbebaasiks.
Ämaris paiknevad pidevalt liitlaste hävitajad, mis on valmis kaitsma Eesti õhuruumi.
NATO reageerimiskiirust tõstetakse
Walesi tippkohtumisel võtsid NATO liikmed vastu valmiduse tegevuskava.
Tegevuskava näeb ette järgmised meetmed NATO heidutushoiaku tugevdamiseks:
- Luuakse brigaadisuurune ülikiire reageerimisüksus, mis suudab lühikese ajaga reageerida mistahes kriisile.
- NATO idapiiri riikidesse eelpaigutatakse vajalik relvastus ja varustus.
- Kuude riiki (sh Eestisse) luuakse NATO juhtimiselement, et kohandada NATO juhtimisstruktuuri uuele julgeolekuolukorrale.
Investeeringud liitlaste kohalolekusse
Liitlaste kohalolek on Eestile tähtis ja valitsus teeb selleks lisainvesteeringuid.
Valitsus on eraldanud 40 miljonit eurot liitlastele vajaliku taristu rajamiseks järgneva viie aasta jooksul.
Selle eest rajatakse kasarmu, arendatakse kaitseväe keskpolügooni ning ehitatakse varustuse ja relvastuse eelpaigutuslaod.
Samuti rajatakse NATO juhtimiselemendi jaoks vajalik taristu.
Meie eesmärk on olla liitlastele hea võõrustaja.