Spring Storm 2017, a set of large-scale military exercises involving several NATO countries kicked off in Estonia with the participation of almost nine thousand troops.
"About 2.3 thousand foreign servicemen from 13 countries will take part in large-scale NATO exercises Kevadtorm-2017 (Spring Storm 2017) together with the Estonian military. In total, almost 9 thousand military servicemen will be involved from May 8 to May 26," the message of the General Staff of the Defense Forces of the Republic says.
The maneuvers will be held for three weeks in different parts of the country, most of them in the north and northeast of Estonia, near the border with Russia.
"During these exercises recruits, will demonstrate what they have learned. These maneuvers are primarily for the benefit of the Estonian military but every year more and more allies join us," the Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, General Riho Terras said.
Spring Storm will be attended by more than 800 British soldiers who are part of the international NATO battalion deployed in Estonia, as well as up to 300 French soldiers from the battalion. Germany will send about 400 military personnel to the exercise. Company-sized divisions will represent the United States, Latvia and Lithuania. The exercises will also be attended by servicemen from the Netherlands, Poland, Canada, Finland, Ukraine, Spain and Georgia.
"It is especially important that our 1st Infantry Brigade will be able to work with the allies from Great Britain, France and Denmark who arrived here," Terras added.
The occasion marks the 15th time that exercises of this format have been held, with the current ones being the most ambitious of all.