Estonia's largest military exercise Siil to partially take place in Latvia

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Photo: Ints Kalnins / Reuters / Scanpix

This year's Siil (Hedgehog) large-scale military exercise, which is to be Estonia's biggest military exercise since the country restored its independence, will be partially held on the territory of Latvia and commander of the Estonian defense forces Gen. Riho Terras discussed cooperation during the exercise with his Latvian colleague Lt. Gen. Leonids Kalnins.

"Our Latvian colleagues participated in Estonia's Spring Storm exercise for the first time nearly 11 years ago and holding this year's Siil large-scale exercise in both countries is a logical next step in such cooperation," Terras was quoted by spokespeople as saying. "In order to protect Estonia and Latvia it is important that good defense cooperation with our neighbor will also be practiced in the course of exercises," he added.

In addition to plans regarding Siil, the defense commanders also exchanged experience in connection with the NATO battle groups stationed in their countries. Terras also visited the Adazi military base.

The Siil exercise will kick off on May 2 and last until May 14. This time the volunteer corps Kaitseliit (Defense League) will have the central role in carrying out tasks and practicing working together, spokespeople for the defense forces said. According to present plans, more than 13,000 uniformed people will take part in the exercise, therefore this year's Siil will be the largest military exercise since Estonia restored its independence in 1991.