Chief of the General Staff visits troops in Estonia

Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith is visiting Estonia and has met with Major General Veiko-Vello Palm, Deputy Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, and with British, Danish, Estonian and French troops serving in the NATO Battle Group.

"This year marks the fifth anniversary of the United Kingdom's 1st Infantry Brigade taking command of the NATO Battle Group in Estonia, and we continue to serve alongside our French and Danish partners," said General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith.

According to Major General Palm, several issues related to co-operation were discussed, concerning the improvement of the military education and training of both countries as well as the strengthening of Estonia's defence plans.

"Today we were able to discuss with the Commander of the British Army the issues of long-term co-operation and how to make the British-led allied battle group in Estonia even stronger," said Major General Palm.

During the visit, CGS visited the 1st Infantry Brigade in Tapa, where he also met with the Brigadier General Colonel Andrus Merilo and members of the United Kingdom Armed Forces serving in the NATO Battle Group. In addition, the general is scheduled to meet with Brigadier General Riho Ühteg, Commander of the Defense League.

General Carleton-Smith said: "Participation in the NATO Battle Group and our close bilateral relations demonstrate the United Kingdom's continued commitment to supporting regional security in the Baltics. I was happy to meet my Estonian colleagues and visit the British soldiers sent to the area."

At the Warsaw Summit in June 2016, the leaders of NATO's 28 allied nations decided to deploy alliance battle groups to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, due to the changed security environment. The leading country of the allied battle group that arrived in Estonia in April 2017 was the UK, and the contributing countries were France and Denmark.

Estonia is bound by long-term defence ties with the British, Danes and French, and by the fraternity for joint participation in international military operations. Together with the British Armed Forces, Estonians served in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.