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Polish soldiers to leave Estonia for Lithuania on Sunday

  • 2016-07-30
  • BNS/TBT Staff/Tallinn

The Polish infantry company presently in Estonia will depart for Lithuania on Sunday to practice co-operation with the Lithuanian defense forces.

"Your presence here served two purposes. One of these was political, a security measure agreed upon on the level of NATO leaders and the other, not less important one was human. Because through direct communication and working together we become really strong allies who will work together as a whole if necessary," commander of the Viru Infantry Battalion of Estonia's 1st Infantry Brigade, Lt. Col. Arno Kruusmann, stated yesterday at a ceremony in Johvi.

Commander of the 5th Infantry Company of the 7th Motorised Infantry Battalion of the Polish armed forces' 17th Motorised Infantry Brigade, Capt. Krzysztof Ilnicki, thanked the Estonian defense personnel for a warm welcome. "My soldiers and myself enjoyed our time here and communicating with you," he said.

The final formation was attended by the Estonian deputy chief of staff, Col. Aivar Kokka, Kruusmann, and soldiers of the Viru Infantry Battalion.

This week the Polish servicemen preformed maintenance work on hardware and equipment, and the unit will leave Estonia tomorrow. Over the course of their three-week stay, the Polish soldiers held live-fire exercises, practiced urban combat, and co-operated with Estonia's volunteer corps Kaitseliit while training at the Sirgala training ground of Estonian defense forces.

The Poles have also had meetings with locals. On Tuesday the unit displayed its weapons and equipment for 200 participants in a youth sports camp in Johvi.

Earlier this week the Polish servicemen competed against conscripts from the Viru Infantry Battalion of Estonia's 1st Infantry Brigade in a friendly physical challenge. The opposing teams had to push a truck, do pull-ups, crawl, run, and exhibit their ability to handle weapons. A winner was not announced, as the organisers' aim was to strengthen participants' skills and physical form.

Almost 150 soldiers from the 5th Infantry Company of the 7th Motorised Infantry Battalion of the Polish armed forces' 17th Motorised Infantry Brigade are conducting training and co-operation exercises in each of the Baltic States over a span of three months. The Polish unit arrived in Estonia from Latvia where it participated in the Saber Strike exercise in addition to various joint drills with US and Latvian military.