The members of the National Defence Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia), who today observed a demonstration battle at the military exercise Siil (hedgehog in Estonian), considered the exercise a success in every way and admitted that the will to defend their country is high among the people of Estonia.
Chairman of the National Defence Committee Marko Mihkelson said that one of the aims of the military exercise was to test the mobilisation capability of the Estonian Defence Forces. “The activeness of the participating reservists exceeded expectations, which clearly shows that the citizens of Estonia are willing to defend their country,” Mihkelson said.
In the opinion of the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Hannes Hanso, Siil demonstrated the increase and development of the Estonian defence capability. “By successfully conducting such a military exercise in these complicated times, we are sending a very important message both into our country and out of our country – that the will to defend our country is very strong in Estonia and our deterrence is convincing,” Hanso said.
Member of the National Defence Committee Madis Milling, who himself participated in the exercise, said that even if individual soldiers might not have been able to perceive the scale of the exercise, it was a serious challenge to the Defence Forces, who have tackled it successfully.
90 percent of the reservists called up for the exercise turned up, which is impressive in Milling’s opinion. “The will to defend is the basis of everything, because a country is not defended by arms but by people,” Milling said.
Member of the National Defence Committee Lauri Laasi also attended the military exercise.
Siil is the largest military exercise in the history of the Estonian Defence Forces, covering all Estonia. It started on 4 May and will end on 15 May. More than 13,000 reservists, troops from different countries and members of the Estonian Defence League participate in the exercise.
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