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Estonia to join Operation Interflex to train Ukrainian forces

24. January 2024 - 16:53

Yesterday at a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (Ramstein meeting), Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur announced Estonia’s decision to join the UK-led Operation Interflex, which provides training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Ahead of the meeting, Minister Pevkur also held bilateral discussions with his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov.

At the Ramstein meeting, the ministers of defence of the countries supporting Ukraine were given an overview of developments on the battlefield, critical capability requirements, the work of capability coalitions and the latest provisions of aid to Ukraine.

“In addition to a constant influx of weapons and ammunition, Ukraine needs the ongoing support of Western countries in training new and additional armed forces personnel in this war, as it transforms into a protracted conflict. That is why Estonia has decided to join Operation Interflex, in which instructors from our own Defence Forces will soon be training Ukrainian soldiers in the United Kingdom,” said Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur. “I also challenged my colleagues to provide 0.25% of GDP in long-term support of Ukraine, which is something Estonia has already decided to do. Our calculations show that if all of the Ramstein countries contributed that much, the total amount could come to 120 billion euros each year, which would create the right conditions for a Ukrainian victory.”

“Operation Interflex is the largest international training scheme for Ukrainian recruits of its kind, and I am very pleased to welcome the skills and expertise of Estonian instructors in bolstering the programme,” said UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, adding that “Estonia’s contribution will mark the 12th nation to lend its support to the UK’s programme, which has already provided more than 34,000 Ukrainian recruits with essential frontline combat skills.” The nations contributing to Interflex include the Nordic countries and Baltic States as well as Australia and Canada.

Within the UK-led Operation Interflex, Estonian instructors will provide soldiers from the Ukrainian Armed Forces with basic training in the United Kingdom. Estonia will also continue to participate in the European Union Military Assistance Mission (EUMAM) in support of Ukraine with specialised courses in Estonia.

Prior to the Ramstein meeting, Minister Pevkur discussed bilateral cooperation and continued help for Ukraine with his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov. “We talked about developments in the strategy for Ukraine’s victory, the current state of the million rounds of ammunition initiative and Ukraine’s needs in regards to assistance,” Minister Pevkur explained.

The Minister of Defence of Ukraine also received an overview of CIOR (Confederation Interalliee des Officiers de Reserve) operations from its president, Lieutenant Colonel Toomas Luman, who outlined the actions the organisation has been taking and opportunities for Ukrainian involvement, as well as the projects carried out by the National Defence Promotion Foundation to help Ukraine. Estonia is the presiding nation of the CIOR from 2022-2024.

Additional information: [email protected].

Photos: Meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine’s Defence, 23 January 2024 | Ministry of Defence | Flickr