TALLINN, May 26 (RIA Novosti)
Estonia completed on Saturday large-scale military drills, which began on May 9 and involved some 5,000 military personnel, including from NATO allies, the General Staff of the Estonian Defense Forces said.
The Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) drills have been held annually in different parts of Estonia since 2003. This year they were held in northern and central Estonia and involved for the first time units from the UK, Belgium and Poland as well as the Estonian navy.
“Our military servicemen gained experience of cooperation with pilots from Poland, air defense experts from Belgium, infantrymen from Britain, Latvia and Lithuania by participating in joint drills,” Estonian Commander in Chief Gen.-Maj. Riho Terras said at a line-up in the village of Kuusalu.
NATO allies were represented by an infantry company from the UK and Latvia each, a reconnaissance platoon from Lithuania and an anti-aircraft missile platoon from Belgium.
The exercise also involved Polish attack aircraft SU-22, Estonia's training jets L-39, light helicopters R-44, light transport planes An-2 and French Mirage F-1 aircraft, according to Estonian newspaper Postimees.
President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves attended the large-scale military exercise on May 17.
Estonia, as well as two other ex-Soviet republics in the Baltics - Latvia and Lithuania, joined NATO in March 2004.