The Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik and United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace visited the Tapa military base this week and met with Estonian and UK soldiers serving there. During the visit, the UK's Secretary of State for Defence received an overview of the conditions at Tapa military base and the activities of the 1st Infantry Brigade, which includes the NATO Allied Battlegroup.
"In recent years, strong investments have been made in the Tapa military base in order to ensure the best conditions for Estonian conscripts and active soldiers, as well as NATO's allied soldiers," said Minister of Defense Luik during the visit.
The UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace praised the conditions of the Tapa military base and noted that the Estonian training areas offer a very good opportunity for UK's soldiers to train with the Estonian Defence Forces in a very important region. The UK Secretary of State for Defence was also impressed by the readiness of the Estonian Defence Forces, which allows for the reception of allied forces and rapid response to various challenges.
In addition, the defence ministers were shown a demonstration of UK's armoured capability and Challenger 2 tanks.
The UK's battalion in Tapa consists of more than 800 soldiers, including heavy armour and tanks. Most of them belong to the 5th RIFLES battalion, which was also the first allied battalion that arrived in Estonia in the spring of 2017. Today, approximately one fifth of the battalion's personnel is back in Estonia again. The UK soldiers based in Tapa commented that compared to their last rotation in 2017, interoperability with the Estonian Defence Forces and the conditions of Tapa base have increased significantly.
The NATO Battlegroup in Tapa was deployed to Estonia following the decision of the 2016 NATO Warsaw Summit to strengthen NATO's defence and deterrence capabilities on the alliance's eastern border after Russia's aggression in Ukraine. The NATO Battlegroup in Estonia consists of the armed forces from the United Kingdom, Denmark and France.
Additional information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee