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Minister of Defence presents medals to French troops in Tapa

30. November 2021 - 16:06
Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet presented mission medals to nearly 170 French soldiers and officers.
Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet presented mission medals to nearly 170 French soldiers and officers.

Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet today presented mission medals to nearly 170 French soldiers and officers who are based in Tapa as part of the UK-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup. The current French contingent, mainly drawn from the 1st Regiment of Chasseurs, will complete its deployment later this month.

„NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence is a valuable instrument of peace and security. It is a manifestation of solidarity that entails not only political statements of support, but - first of all - practical cooperation and human connections.  This cannot be underestimated, particularly in the present tense circumstances,“ said Minister of Defence of Estonia Kalle Laanet. „Together with our allies we must continue to show determination and readiness to deter and if necessary, to respond and defend. Estonia is very grateful to you and to our very close ally France for the support.”

"It has been an honour and a privilege for the French contingent to serve here and to be part of Estonia's defense," said Colonel Eric Mauger, Commander of the French forces in Estonia, and Deputy Commander of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence. "Since September, we have been integrated into the Estonian 1st Brigade alongside our UK partners and we have exercised with members of the Estonian Defense League, both in Saaremaa and in Tapa. Our LeClerc tank crews also took part in a multinational tank shooting competition and live-fire exercise in Latvia in October. So this deployment has been very rewarding and has given us a very good opportunity to practice interoperability with our Estonian and UK comrades," said Colonel Mauger.

Before Christmas the French Army’s 1st Regiment of Chasseurs will hand over its mission to the 5th Dragoon Regiment (5e régiment de dragons).

NATO battlegroups in the Baltics are led by the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the United States. NATO´s enhanced Forward Presence was established in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017.

Photos: https://pildid.mil.ee/index.php?/category/60891

For further information: [email protected]; Bjorn Malmquist, Media advisor, NATO eFP Estonia, [email protected]