Hanso: Kremlin itself is turning Ukraine into a Western nation
In Brussels yesterday, defence minister Stepan Poltorak faced the press after the NATO-Ukraine committee session. The first question, a sharp one, was by a countryman: «Isn't controversial that our army is being reformed by the same people who ruined it for 24 years?»
16.06.2016, Evelyn KaldojaPM
NATO Force Integration Unit gets own house
Established a year ago and thus far operating in a section of the Defence Forces headquarters, the 41-member NATO Force Integration Unit today receives a building of its own. As proven by the recent Trident Juncture 2016 exercises, Estonia is now in full readiness to receive NATO Response Force as urgency arises.
13.06.2016, Oliver KundPM
NATO waving a red rag under nose of Russia
No threat to Russia militarily speaking, the US battalions in Baltics would irritate the Kremlin by their mere presence at Russian border. In response, just to flex muscles, the latter may move over its most modern armaments.
30.05.2016, Jaanus PiirsaluPM
Commander-in-Chief convinced in increased NATO presence in Baltics
Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces Riho Terras tells Postimees in live studio he is convinced the Warsaw summit in the beginning of July will decide to increase NATO presence in Baltics. He underlined that in run-up to such summits, presenting of dark scenarios in reports is the norm.
22.04.2016, Marian VõsumetsPM
Estonian minister in Washington, «confirmed» by current news
The meeting is shrouded by the Chatham House rule i.e. we may say what was said but not who said what. Therefore, a tricky task to cover defence minister Hannes Hanso's first ever official as well as unofficial trip to the USA.
01.04.2016, Evelyn KaldojaPM
Wind farms interfering with military radar images
Defence ministry has declined to okay plans for many a wind park in Estonia as turbine blades interfere with image in air surveillance radars. Officials say best spots for parks, with national defence in view, are Pärnu and Viljandi Counties.
03.03.2016, Andres EinmannPM
NATO squeezed by Kaliningrad bottleneck
Predicting occupation of Tallinn and Riga in less than 60 hours, a RAND Corporation report does underestimate Estonian defence capacity but points out the cold hard facts of gaping holes in deterrence capability of the Baltics which they believe need to be fixed latest by NATO summit in Warsaw.
16.02.2016, Oliver KundPM
10-12 tanks added to Pskov Air Assault division
The 76th Guards Air Assault Division in Pskov, Russia and immediate vicinity of Estonia gets boosted by a tank unit. Experts say security of Estonia is thereby under no greater threat.
02.02.2016, Jaanus PiirsaluPM
Estonia-Norway combat vehicle deal triggers war of words
The recent decision to purchase 37 combat vehicle hulls from Norway has turned acrimonious as the enterprise beaten at procurement accuses defence ministry of large scale waste of taxpayer money. To refute the accusations, ministry agreed to disclose details.
25.01.2016, Oliver KundPM
Nighttime patrol where societies clash
It's nearing ten o'clock at night as the Estonian platoon near At Tiri, Lebanon, loads the guns and gets equipment onto two jeeps. The next five hours we spend in the darkness of the local night, on the mountain slopes where the steep declines mess with one's ears and in the rains the mud swallows whole cars. All this for just one aim: demotivate those who'd wish to disturb the peace.
19.01.2016, Oliver KundPM
Oh to be embraced by Estonia ...
Six years ago a single mother from Moscow left Russia for good, in hopes to live happily in Estonia with her son. The young man is hardworking and talented, and a local through and through. And yet, despite all of their efforts, neither is officially Estonian yet.
18.01.2016, Priit PulleritsPM
Combat vehicles blessed with sisters
Updating its military equipment, Norway is selling Estonia 37 used hulls of armoured vehicles, each for the price of a small car. The exceptionally favourable deal is to bolster the Eastern border of NATO and fill a hole in Estonia's armoured maneuverability.
05.01.2016, Oliver KundPM
The golden parachutes gang
Not too long ago, in the 1990ies, former chiefs in law enforcement faced the danger of dropping out of state system. By now, Estonia features a coterie ensured place on public payroll after the term expires.
30.12.2015, Oliver KundPM
Defence League guys unwilling to hand over private guns
While interior ministry prepares a law amendment to have everyone with more than one gun for self defence to give the extra ones up, Defence League (Kaitseliit) members intend to shift such weapons into Defence Forces register.
29.12.2015, Liis VelskerPM
Cyborgs in Ukrainian war: meet defender of Donetsk airport
Donetsk airport, early morning of January 20th. The thick fog is hindering visibility. Guarding the terminal penetrated with many a bullet and blast, an Ukrainian serviceman Oleksandr Gudim is eyeing an increasingly watery blanket of snow and the dreary weather. Gut feeling says it's going to be bad: «Don't like it at all.» Within a few steps behind a wall, the separatists are preparing for fresh attack.
29.12.2015, Georgi BeltadzePM
The cyberspace arms race
Partly because of a year filled with cyber attacks by ISIS, military cyber units keep popping up in nations of Europe. Estonia not a target thus far, experts see no need to amend local law.
30.11.2015, Oliver KundPM
Incoming foreign intelligence chief says Russia is playing itself into international picture
A long-time chancellor at defence ministry, come New Year Mikk Marran (37) will assume leadership of Estonia's foreign intelligence, the Information Board. Drawing on his current job at the ministry while peeking into the future, he admits to be troubled by Russia's deepening aggressiveness and closeness.
18.11.2015, Tuuli KochPM
Estonia eyes engagement against ISIS
At defence ministry, ideas have been put into writing regarding Estonia's options between three likely foreign missions looming. A scenario would take our soldiers back to Iraq, to train combatants fighting Islamic State.
26.10.2015, Oliver KundPM
Hannes Hanso «embarrassed» that soc dems wanted to cut defence spending
Defence minister Hannes Hanso (44 today, Soc Dems) says the main near term aim is finding a new deputy chancellor for the ministry, and a new chief for Information Board. As for anti-refugee statements by servicemen, he wants to put an end to that.
06.10.2015, Oliver KundPM
Estonian firm presents unmanned military hybrid
Estonia is gradually developing domestic defence industry: at DSEI exhibition in London yesterday, defence technology developer AS Milrem presented first unmanned military crawler propelled by hybrid engine.
16.09.2015, Aivar PauPM
Ministries swell with fresh vigour
Analysis by Chamber of Commerce and Industry says Estonia's public officialdom is resistant to thinning and if the numbers do come down at all, then on account of police patrols and firefighters. Meanwhile, the ministries keep on ballooning.
07.09.2015, Nils NiitraPM
US F-22 jets arrive in Estonia
Two F-22 Raptor tactical stealth fighters of the U.S. Air Force arrived in Estonia on Friday.
American input to make Estonia increasingly NATO
If all goes according to plan, the millions of Estonian defence structure euros will near term be mainly poured into Ämari, Tapa and Tallinn. In lots of locations, it is US Army who does the building.
05.06.2015, Oliver KundPM
Editorial: German protection shown in action
The recent public confirmation of rotating German infantry companies coming to the Baltics, by members of Bundestag, is of great significance.
Cornflower campaign has raised almost EUR 43,000
A charity campaign organized by the Estonian Wounded Warriors Association to raise money for the purchase of a walking robot raised nearly 43,000 euros during the first ten days, which is half of the targeted sum.
National defence now Estonia’s top dangerous job
Latest data says it’s no longer most dangerous in Estonia do work in metal and wood industry or in construction, but rather in national defence and public administration. To improve the situation, Labour Inspectorate now makes a strange proposal: national defence injuries should no longer count as accidents at work.
26.03.2015, Oliver KundPM
Celebrating Estonia: Narva hosts parade
At yesterday’s Defence Forces military parade, Aleksei, a native of Narva, was delighted to see the many Estonians around – if but for a few days.
25.02.2015, Anneli AmmasPM
Editorial: the Estonia we all share
Yesterday, our country had its birthday. Probably, every home has developed a way to celebrate. Some bake a cake, some uncork champagne. Some watch the concert, some like to see the presidential shakings of hands – drawn to the glamour.
Battle front Ukrainian country living: no money, no power, no state
It just so happened I’d forgotten about the bar of Snickers in my overcoat pocket, purchased half way from Kiev to the front. I gave it to Sofia. Grasping it in her gloves, she observed the thing with suspicion. And burst out laughing, happily. They wholehearted way kids do when no older that two years and half.
10.02.2015, Jaanus PiirsaluPM
Defence League wants more guns in homes
Headquarters of the Defence League is trying to reverse the trend of members opting not to keep firearms at home. To accomplish that, they have purchased loads of weapons safes and set it as aim to have lion’s share of those with weapons permits keeping guns and ammunition handy where they dwell.
04.02.2015, Oliver KundPM
Estonia achieves absolute radar coverage
No escaping now for flying objects 500 kilometres away and 30 kilometres high, thanks to radar station towering on top of Tõikamäe Hill in Otepää Nature Park. Hereby, Estonia’s entire air traffic is guarded nice and tight.
28.01.2015, Risto MetsPM
Editorial: hey, we’re family
«It is in the times foreign-politically difficult that maintenance of the bridge with Finland tends to slip our minds and signs of disrepair start to show,» Toomas Kiho, editor-in-chief of Akadeemia (the cultural journal) wrote in Postimees this past fall. «Regrettably, to the backdrop of current crises, the same seems to happening again.»
Coalition-to-be vows Defence League will swim in money
Whatever the coalition after the elections, next four years for security seem to be as good as set in stone. In national defence, the parties are unanimous regarding Defence League’s preferred development; in public defence, they stand as one to raise wages for policemen and rescuers.
21.01.2015, Oliver KundPM
Estonians head back to Estcoy-1 mission
In a couple of months, UNIFIL in Lebanon becomes Estonia’s largest military mission abroad – an endeavour altogether different than the decade spent in Afghanistan.
14.01.2015, Evelyn KaldojaPM
National defence better off without resounding election promises
Wonderful with national defence raised to central issue in elections, says Commander of the Defence Forces Major-General Riho Terras. Even so, his advice would be to abstain from expensive and emotional spur-of-the-moment decisions in national defence as Estonian is not in war not even close to one.
09.01.2015, Oliver KundPM
Editorial: Ämari sees fulfilment of Obama promise
While visiting Estonia, the US President Barack Obama announced plans to create at Ämari an US-Baltic-Nordic air force training centre. By then, negotiations over the essence of the near $1bn NATO programme supporting European allies had been going on for months. By now, details of said programme have reached the 2015 budget of US armed forces and, of that, about $25m are earmarked as investments into Ämari.
Ground troops get 44 guardian angels
Pursuant to contact signed in The Hague yesterday Estonia purchases 44 combat vehicles CV90, the Defence Forces thus able to spice resistance to a possible armoured foe with some surprise attack.
10.12.2014, Oliver KundPM
Rõivas: background to decisions needs more explanation
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas thinks the sharp criticism by Reform Party honorary chairman Siim Kallas towards the current party is not justified. Focussing on success at elections, Mr Rõivas promises generous support to large families.
05.12.2014, Tuuli KochPM
Editorial: fighters testing the role conflict fringe
Reform Party political technologists may, perhaps, be patting each other on the back: in the vastness of the web, campaign video filmed at Ämari Air Base is living a life of its own while (news) portals and social media are awesomely astir. Taavi Rõivas, as party chairman and prime minister, has endless opportunity to harp a political message on security. Even so, the very freshly prime minister ought to already have experience and statesmanship enough to realise there is a line better not crossed in a democratic rule of law – one which political games may easily infringe.
Prime Minister drags Defence Forces into politics
In Estonia yesterday, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg met at Ämari Air Base with local servicemen and Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform Party, RE), but defence minister Sven Mikser (soc dems, SDE) was not invited – due to opposition by prime minister and his team, we hear. Also, Mr Stoltenberg festively met with President Toomas Henrik Ilves and foreign minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (RE). The meeting with Mr Mikser got scheduled last of all.
21.11.2014, Liisa TagelPM
Cyber space tensions rising
In addition to incidents with Russian planes and ships tensions have lately also increased in cyber space, said NATO supreme allied commander in Europe General Philip Breedlove on his visit to Tallinn cyber defence centre yesterday.
20.11.2014, Evelyn KaldojaPM
Conscript hospitalised by explosives
A month ago, a conscript at Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion was hospitalised due to injuries by an explosives package going off.
19.11.2014, Toomas RandloPM
Russian border guard quits cooperation with Estonia
At the beginning of November, former Border Guard Board director-general Vice-Admiral Tarmo Kõuts and University of professor emeritus Ülo Vooglaid handed the Riigikogu a collective address to restore standalone Border Guard. According to interior minister Hanno Pevkur (Reform Party), the idea ought to at least be discussed.
12.11.2014, Risto BerendsonPM
Estonians in Swedish training for dire disorder
Thus says the training scenario: in South-East Sweden, a country called Bogaland has been declared. In Bogaland – no European values....
10.11.2014, Oliver KundPM
Estonian soldiers in Mali eye Ebola spread
Mali, the latest land touched by Ebola is in an emergency situation and, fearing the virus, neighbouring Mauritania has closed borders. With eight Estonians serving in the nation affected, Defence Forces are paying attention.
29.10.2014, Evelyn KaldojaPM
Estonians evolving an unmanned flying object
What’s in common between armies of USA, LAV and Estonia? All use weapon simulators by OÜ Eli, a firm based in Pirita.
27.10.2014, Marge TubalkainPM
No faith in locals that sub gets caught
Whether triumphant or empty-handed after the intelligence operation amid isles of Stockholm – in its sixth day today – Swedes believe changes are a must when it comes to defence spending.
22.10.2014, Oliver KundPM
US armoured unit enters service in Estonia
United States of America 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Brigade, 8th Cavalry Regiment’s mechanised infantry company has entered service on Estonian soil. By ceremony at 1st Infantry Brigade at Tapa, the unit replaced US 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team – in Estonia since spring.
09.10.2014, Andres EinmannPM
Pevkur pledges proper cameras to watch borders
Interior minister Hanno Pevkur, you met the people working on the border – what about their morale and will to work after the capture of Eston Kohver, and the criticism that followed regarding how the border holds?
24.09.2014, Tuuli KochPM
Russian planes straying into foreign airspace
Five times this year, warplanes from Russian Federation have entered airspace of Estonia.
23.09.2014, Toomas RandloPM
The cordon that Russians never left
A 20 years long Estonian-Russian tussle regarding embassy buildings this year wound up with a 99 years contract pursuant to which Estonia may rent land under its Moscow embassy for a token price while Russia, among other things, is able to use the one-time Soviet border guard cordon in Pirita, Tallinn.
22.09.2014, Oliver KundPM
Estonia gives Kurds a million cartridges
To support Iraqi Kurds in their fight against the violently militant Islamic State, Estonia donates one million machine gun cartridges made for weapons of Soviet origin.
29.08.2014, Andres EinmannPM
Mart Laar: we really ought to have resisted Russia, back in 1939...
The aim of history might rather be to understand, not to condemn. As to decisions taken in 1939, the again-independent Estonia has – by her behaviour and practice – awarded an assessment. Even so, in order to understand history, we still need the answers to a whole host of questions regarding the options in these days of long ago, writes Mart Laar, historian and former Prime Minister of Estonia (IRL).
28.08.2014, Mart LaarPM
Graveyard yields monument to liberty
At the foot of «Rannu ema» [Mother of Rannu], a memorial column has been discovered with 27 names of locals.
18.08.2014, Andres EinmannPM
Estonia buys arms killing from a kilometre
Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces Major-General Riho Terras says Estonian antitank capacity is good as it stands but needs updating.
30.07.2014, Kaspar JõgevaPM
In time of war, Prime Minister to take the wheel
The National Defence Act bill now under approval procedures will set up Prime Minister as the one in command. The current foundations for defending Estonia are considered obsolete and even comparable to arrangements preceding WW2.
23.07.2014, Kaspar JõgevaPM
Where have all the soldiers gone?
An exhaustive report due in 2015 heralds reform in health requirements of servicemen, and in what and how they’ll have to do while in the army. To boost motivation, next spring will see certificates awarded to draftees, regarding levels of special skills acquired.
09.06.2014, Oliver KundPM
Ilves: contribution to the security of Afghanistan has been a contribution to our own security
«Thanks to your experiences and courage, the Estonian Defence Forces are more effective and more professional,» said the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves on Friday in Kadriorg, when he addressed the last contingent of the Estonian Defence Forces to serve in the NATO led mission in Afghanistan.
After exercises, country boy goes picking training grenades
Spring Storm battles left South-Estonian forests an abundant heritage of training grenades and blank cartridges. A local has been hurt.
Editorial: the mythologies of May
Yesterday, the West celebrated 69 since end of WW2 battles, in Europe. Memorial services were also held in Estonia. At Maarjamäe Memorial in Tallinn, a representative of the government laid wreaths in honour of those the war took. Servicemen of the Defence Forces thus also honoured the fallen among the Red Army at the military graveyard, also decorating with wreaths the Nazi victims’ memorial at Rahumäe Jewish Cemetery.
Estonian troops fly to CAR Friday morning
On Friday morning, from Ämari air base, the Estonian infantry platoon is flown off towards Central African Republic for four months. The initial task for the mission in Bangui, the capital, is to protect the EUFOR base.
07.05.2014, Oliver KundPM
USA longing for arrival of other allies in Baltics
James J. Townsend, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for European and NATO Policy, notes that American diplomats covering the area have been a lot busier that they knew to expect just some three-four months ago.
25.04.2014, Evelyn KaldojaPM
More NATO, come Monday
Starting next week, NATO initial deterrence against Russia will significantly strengthen in Estonia – land, sea and air. Whether members of the alliance will agree to let the units stay for good, is now up to steadfastness of Estonian defence ministry and moves by Russia.
24.04.2014, Oliver KundPM
Shelters in Estonia good for nothing
Twenty years ago, Estonia lost its Soviet time civil defence system meant to shelter communist elite and vital factories staff from weapons of mass destruction.
21.04.2014, Nils NiitraPM
Editorial: Estonian input in Central Africa a must
For Estonia, it is the right thing to go ahead with the French and other allies in the Central African Republic (CAR) operation. If there was anything that was wrong, it was the delay – thinking of the people in CAR and European interests. Whoever harps on this being immoral colonial war are blatantly lying. In the CAR conflict, thousands of civilians have been slaughtered. The mission is to take away the arms and keep further murders from happening.
Depth of danger determined after arrival in Africa
A task for Estonians headed to Central African Republic, within weeks, is disarming the opposing forces. At that, security of the troops themselves will mostly depend on ability to foresee danger, believes commander of the contingent, Lieutenant Colonel Sten Allik.
03.04.2014, Oliver KundPM
Allies aiming to fill Baltic skies with fighters
Considering how many planes the Baltic airspace could hold, and how many fighters have been offered by NATO allies – in light of recent events – to secure Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian skies, we are nearing saturation, says Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Major-General Riho Terras.
20.03.2014, Evelyn KaldojaPM
Baltics fortified with extra US fighters
Yesterday at 2 , six US F-15C fighters and two KC-135 tanker-aircraft touched down at Šiauliai airbase, Lithuania, tasked with strengthening defence of Baltic skies.
07.03.2014, Merike TederPM
Estonia’s historic first to open a mission
Lieutenant Colonel Sten Allik – first ever, and perhaps the last ever Estonian contingent chief in Central African Republic – does not think the crisis has turned especially bad, lately.
28.02.2014, Evelyn KaldojaPM
Sniper school faces shot in the head
Defence Forces’ sniper school staff is leaving their posts, some due to end of Afghani missions, others because of differences. Snipers think this means dismantling of entire Estonia’s training system.
15.08.2013, Mikk SaluPM
Estonian defense forces to introduce snack times between meals
The Estonian defense forces are about to switch to a new system of catering in October that will make the intervals between meals for conscripts shorter and the food offered healthier and more diverse.
April brings record army wage rise
In April, average wages for members of the Defence Forces will rise by 17 per cent, the most generous increase awarded to non-commissioned officers and junior officers.
13.03.2013, Mikk Salu, Postimees