13 May 2018 15:16

Largest military drills in Estonia's history over

TALLINN. May 13 (Interfax) - The largest military drills in Estonia's history, Siil 2018 (Hedgehog 2018), concluded on Sunday.

"The major exercises Siil have shown that we can handle not only combat but much more than that. Coordinated activities of various government institutions that we have practiced during the exercises are a force that makes it impossible to break us," Estonian Defense Forces Commander Gen. Riho Terras said at a ceremonial parade concluding the drills.

The exercises started on May 2. The last combat practice took place on May 12 in the city of Valga on the Estonian-Latvian border, in which the troops practiced urban warfare.

According to the Estonian Defense Forces' updated reports on Sunday, the maneuvers involved over 18,000 active duty service members and reservists of the Estonian Armed Forces and about 2,000 soldiers and officers from 19 NATO and allied states.

Involved in the drills were heavy armored vehicles and aircraft, including UK helicopters Lynx Wildcat AH1, U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, French fighters Mirage 2000 and Polish attack aircraft Sukhoi Su-22. Estonian R-44 Robinson and L-39 jet trainer aircraft also participated in the maneuvers.

The exercises were held near the Russian border. The troops involved in the drills practiced repelling aggression by an imaginary hostile country called Murinius attacking the Baltic states along with its satellites, Plumbeus, Griseus, and Cinereus. The exercise map indicated these imaginary states as located in Russia's territory.

Before this, the largest military exercises in Estonia were the Siil 2015, in which over 13,000 people took part.