Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik held a phone call with the United Kingdom’s Defence Minister Ben Wallace discussing developments in the defence domain and the UK’s commitment to the NATO battlegroup in Estonia. The situation in Belarus and security threats in the wider region were also discussed with both ministers agreeing that the threats around us have not changed which necessitate continued investment into defence.
The United Kingdom’s Defence Minister highlighted that under the new integrated defence review there will be a renewed emphasis on strengthening the armed force’s presence abroad and additional resources will be allocated for investments, including for the modernisation of the armed forces. Defence Minister Luik welcomed the UK’s decision to boost defence spending during a period of macroeconomic pressures and thanked the United Kingdom for their continued commitment to the NATO battlegroup in Estonia. „The United Kingdom closely shares our view of the security threats that we face and has always been a key ally to Estonia, already since the Estonian War of Independence to this day protecting our shared liberty and freedom“ said Luik during the call.
Additionally the ministers discussed the situation in Belarus, the future of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and cooperation within the Joint Expeditionary Force format.
The United Kingdom contributes with a battalion to the NATO battlegroup located in Tapa, which was formed following a decision at the 2016. NATO summit to strengthen the alliance’s presence in the Baltics and Poland. Other contributing nations alongside the UK in the NATO Battlegroup in Estonia are France, Denmark, Belgium and Iceland.
Defence cooperation between Estonia and the United Kingdom began already during the period of the Estonian Independence War, when the British navy delivered much-needed arms and supplies to the young Estonian republic. Today close defence cooperation continues in multiple domains and on operations in Afghanistan and Mali, where Estonian and British troops serve side by side.
Source: Estonian Ministry of Defence