Warships, aircraft from 6 countries to protect Baltic Sea region

Warships, aircraft from 6 countries to protect Baltic Sea region.
Warships, aircraft from 6 countries to protect Baltic Sea region. Photo: Liis Treimann / Postimees

The defense ministers of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) on Tuesday agreed that the countries participating in the JEF will direct some of their warships and aircraft to the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Danish straits in early December to protect the undersea infrastructure and strengthen deterrence in northern Europe.

Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and the United Kingdom will contribute to the Baltic Sea region with their various capabilities, which include patrol ships, frigates, maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and minesweepers, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Defense told BNS.

The British frigate HMS Richmond will provide force protection for Estonian and Finnish vessels. The Estonian Navy will contribute two patrol vessels.

"This marks the first time a JEF Response Option has been activated. This provides a tangible demonstration of the JEF as a credible contributor to security in northern Europe. The Estonian Navy will contribute to the successful completion of this task," Susan Lillevali, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Defense for defense readiness, said.

The activity will take place in early December and will ensure a security presence, strengthening common efforts with NATO in the Baltic Sea region. The JEF is determined to enhance its preparedness in supporting the JEF nations to protect their critical national infrastructure.

The Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is a coalition led by the United Kingdom and it also includes Estonia, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. The coalition's focus areas are the Baltic Sea region, the Far North and the North Atlantic region. When the JEF is activated, the UK provides the necessary command and force elements, which the member states supplement with their own capabilities.