The Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Marko Mihkelson and members of the National Defence Committee Ants Laaneots and Johannes Kert visited the training centre of the Ukrainian Defence Forces in Desna near Kiev to learn more about the training of mobilised soldiers.
At the Desna military training centre the members of the delegation of the National Defence Committee were introduced the training programme for the recently mobilised and shown the barracks and tank simulators. They also had the possibility to see how tactical exercises were conducted and observe tank firing exercise and the shooting exercises of snipers on the training area.
“The training of the mobilised soldiers clearly shows that Ukraine is in a real state of war and the country is seriously getting ready to combat the possible expansion of aggression,” Mihkelson said, summing up the experience. “Our visit to Desna military training centre was special in a certain way, because a member of our Committee Ants Laaneots served there as an officer in the 1970s,” Mihkelson added.
Besides visiting the military training centre today, Mihkelson considered meeting with Oleksandr Turchynov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, an advisory body to the President of Ukraine, one of the most important moments of their visit to Ukraine.
“Turchynov gave a thorough overview of the security situation in the country and thanked Estonia for our constant support to Ukraine in its fight for freedom and territorial integrity,” Mihkelson said, and added that Ukraine is ready for all possible developments in the eastern part of the country. Turchynov did not rule out the possibility that the separatists supported by Russia may start new attack activity on certain territories at any moment.
At the meeting with the Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine SBU Viktor Yahun, the detention of two Russian servicemen, a captain and a sergeant of the GRU special unit in East Ukraine was discussed in more detail. “This is essentially the first time when the soldiers of Russia’s regular army are captured by Ukrainians in a battle operation,” Mihkelson said. In his opinion it is another irrefutable proof that regular army units of Russia are fighting in East Ukraine. “Unfortunately this is not by far the first time Russia betrays the soldiers who have sworn an oath to their homeland, and in the same way hundreds of soldiers who have perished in East Ukraine are denied,” Mihkelson said.
The meeting with the Deputy Minister of Defence of Ukraine Petro Mekhed in Kiev mainly focused on defence cooperation issues. Estonia and Ukraine currently have several bilateral defence cooperation projects, for example, in the field of military medicine and cyber defence. “The battle experience of East Ukraine is of priceless value in the training of our Defence Forces,” Mihkelson emphasized.
Enlargement of the cooperation between the parliaments was discussed with the members of the Committee on National Security and Defence and the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Verkhovna Rada. The members of the parliament of Ukraine consider the experience of the founding and activity of the Estonian Defence League to be of great interest to them. The delegation of the National Defence Committee also met with the Deputy Interior Minister of Ukraine Tihran Avakian and the Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Alexander Hug.
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