Today, during the ceremony at the Tapa armed forces campus, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik and Commander of the Defence Forces General Riho Terras presented medals for participation in international operations to NATO battle group soldiers.
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik thanked the solders for their service and contribution to Estonia's defence capability.
“Along with your brotherhood in arms in Afghanistan, you have learned to serve in an entirely different environment. Your service here is a sign of the close and good relationship between Estonia and the United Kingdom, and the experiences received in Estonia serve to strengthen NATO as a whole,” said Luik.
The Minister of Defence added that the presence of the battle group in Estonia helps to ensure the high level of defence capability as well as reducing the fear of any repetition of history’s tragedies.
During the ceremony, Commander of the Defence Forces General Riho Terras presented the flag of the Commander of the Defence Forces to the unit from the United Kingdom.
During the ceremony, 773 British Allied soldiers were each awarded a medal in recognition of their exemplary service and outstanding cooperation as members of the battle group.
The 1200 member NATO battle group comprised of British, French and Danish soldiers began serving in Tapa at the beginning of April and is a part of the 1st Infantry Brigade.
The unit is armed with Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, and AS90 self-propelled guns.
France is contributing a subunit with 300 servicemen to the battle group, armed with Leclerc tanks, VBCI infantry fighting vehicles and VAB armoured vehicles.
The French subunit will be replaced next year by Danish soldiers.
British Ambassador to Estonia Theresa Bubbear also participated in the ceremony.
As a result of the changed security situation, the leaders of all 28 NATO member countries decided at the Warsaw Summit last summer to station battle groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland for the purposes of deterrence and collective defence.
Photos of the ceremony: https://www.facebook.com/kaitseministeerium/posts/302226050262554