2 Rifles Battlegroup arrived in Estonia this week to bolster defence forces in the country, in support of European security. In a bilateral agreement between Estonia and the United Kingdom, the Battlegroup replaces the Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup as the Agile Task Force (ATF) and will remain in Estonia for a six-month tour of duty.
Announced by the British and Estonian Prime Ministers in early June, the bilateral agreement aims to: strengthen the Estonian-UK relationship; deepen integration; deter the threat from adversaries and demonstrate European solidarity.
Estonia’s Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet said:
“The key to success in this complicated new security environment is close, well-functioning cooperation with Allies and that is absolutely the case with the British forces in Estonia.
Our forces have been able to learn a lot from each other and we are glad to welcome the 2 Rifles Battlegroup in Estonia. The leadership and decisive action of the UK in shoring up the defence posture in the region is very highly valued in Estonia,”
The 2 Rifles Battlegroup is a light infantry Battlegroup comprising three infantry companies, a fire support company and attached artillery, engineering, logistic and medical support elements.
Light role infantry units provide a highly agile combat force able to operate on all terrains, offering reconnaissance, sniper and anti-tank capabilities.
The Battlegroup will be fully integrated within the 2nd Estonian Infantry Brigade and will conduct training across the Baltic nations, Poland and Finland over the next six months. Training will prioritise integration, agility and high readiness.
The new Battlegroup replaces the outgoing Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup which leaves Estonia following completion of nine months on the Eastern Flank supporting the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP).
They were extended in February 2022 when the British Prime Minister announced that the UK would double its presence in Estonia by deploying a second battlegroup.
The 2 Rifles Battlegroup Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel William Wells commented:
We feel privileged to have been chosen to deploy to Estonia as part of the UK’s contribution to Eastern Europe. Lt Col William Wells, 2 RIFLES CO
“We feel privileged to have been chosen to deploy to Estonia as part of the UK’s contribution to Eastern Europe. We are all looking forward to working alongside the Estonian Defence Forces as well as other partners in the region.”
Commander Cabrit, Colonel Dai Bevan commented:
“The arrival of 2 Rifles Battlegroup in Estonia is a further demonstration of the UK’s support to NATO and the security of Europe. We are pleased to add to our force, a highly-trained and agile taskforce, who have a hard-won reputation for professional soldiering and excellence in close combat.”