Estonia requires a 48 hours prior notice before innocent passage of foreign warships, which does not seem in line with UNCLOS. This is counterproductive if Western states want Russia to comply with the treaty.
Estonia has procured a significant number of naval mines in order to improve its sea denial capabilities.
A television performance by two U.S. soldiers has achieved remarkable strategic effect. In fluent Russian they explain what the American soldiers are doing during an exercise in Estonia. It sends the right message to both the Russian minorities in the Baltic countries and to Russia as a potential enemy.
It looks like Estonia will buy a EuroSpike anti-tank missile system, since no other company has made a bid in the competition. Spike is a well-tested missile with a long range and sophisticated features. This is the second step in the modernization of Estonia’s anti-tank force, which began when they acquired the smaller Javelin missile a few years ago.
Estonia has decided to buy American rifles from the Lewis Machine & Tool Company. It is a somewhat unconventional choice. Only New Zealand has purchased LMT rifles at this scale for armed forces before.
Finland has decided to leave the UN Mission in Lebanon, so the integrated Estonian platoon has to leave as well. This raises some interesting questions about benefits and dangers to cooperation among Europe’s armed forces.
Army major Deniss Metsavas was a role model for successful integration of Russians in Estonia. He appeared on TV several times posing as a patriotic Estonian. But now he has been exposed as a GRU spy, and suspicion against the Russian minority has soared.
Estonia has signed a new contract for Mistral missiles with French manufacturer MBDA. This gives Estonia a more robust air defense. There are still many shortcomings in the Baltic air defense, but the new short-range missiles are an important step to building a more credible deterrent.
Siil 2018 is the largest military exercise in Estonia to date. More than 15,000 troops take part, including 2,000 from other countries. It takes place on 2-14 May.
This terrific article by James K. Wither is a must-read for everyone concerned with military strategy in the Baltic region. It is published in Small Wars Journal under the title ”Modern Guerrillas” and the Defense of the Baltic States. The best prospect to deter or if necessary defend an attack on the Baltic States remains […]