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Ministry of Defence presented mission medals to British and French soldiers serving within the NATO Battlegroup at Tapa

10. June 2022 - 13:57
Ministry of Defence presented mission medals to British and French soldiers serving within the NATO Battlegroup at Tapa.
Ministry of Defence presented mission medals to British and French soldiers serving within the NATO Battlegroup at Tapa.

On Friday 10 June, Director of the Policy Planning Department of the Ministry of Defence Kristjan Mäe presented mission medals to the British and French officers and soldiers in the UK Royal Tank Regiment and the French 3rd Company of 7th Battalion of Chasseurs Alpins who have been serving in the UK-led NATO Battlegroup.

“We are very grateful to our Allies in the NATO Battlegroup, whose continued and increased presence in Estonia demonstrates the unity of allied relations and the indivisibility of security in a situation, where the aggressor country Russia is threat to the whole of Europe,” said Director of the Policy Planning Department of the Ministry of Defence Kristjan Mäe.

“We have just successfully completed the large-scale Exercise Siil 2022 (Hedgehog 2022), which increased our cooperation skills and interoperability even further. The contributions of units from the UK, France and Denmark are highly significant for both deterrence and defence,” he added.

“This medal symbolizes the commitment of France and its military contribution alongside our Allies. It marks our solidarity with the alliance’s members, especially with Estonia,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Fabrice Bordais, the French Senior National Representative and Commander of the French Armed Forces in Estonia.

“France is proud to participate since March 2017 in the eFP mandate with several hundred French soldiers. In the context of the Ukraine invasion, in March 2022 we decided to sustain our involvement in Estonia. The aim is obviously the contribution to the defence of our Allies and, alongside them, to contribute to the security of Europe's eastern flank,” added Lieutenant-Colonel Fabrice Bordais.

The Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup, which included the French Company for the majority of its tour, leaves Estonia following completion of nine months on the Eastern Flank supporting the NATO enhanced Forward Presence. The Royal Tank Regiment’s tour was extended in February 2022 when the British Prime Minister announced that they would double their presence in Estonia by deploying a second Battlegroup. The Battlegroup completed exercises Winter Camp, Iron Spear, Bold Axe and Hedgehog (Siil 2022) among others. They worked on community projects including the building of Tartu Ice Rink and Orchard in Pärnu, and hosted visits from key members of the NATO Alliance at a time when Estonia’s security is of the utmost importance to its European neighbours.

“It has been an enormous privilege to train in Estonia, serving under both Estonian Brigades. We have had an incredible experience exercising in all weathers and navigating new terrains, training alongside the Estonian Defence Force with our colleagues from Denmark and France,” stated Lieutenant Colonel Simon Worth, Commanding Officer Royal Tank Regiment, British Army.

“This medal recognises the determination and resilience that the officers and soldiers of the Royal Tank Regiment have shown over the last nine months. Although my soldiers are looking forward to some well-deserved rest, we depart Estonia proud of our contribution and convinced of the vital importance of this mission,” said Lieutenant Colonel Simon Worth.

NATO Battlegroups were established in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland in 2017, and the lead countries for the Battlegroups in the Baltic States are the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the United States, respectively.

Photos: https://pildid.mil.ee/index.php?/category/61267

Additional information: [email protected]