TALLINN – The decision of the Danish government and parliament to contribute a full Danish battalion to Latvia, made public on Tuesday, is a positive step in strengthening the defense of NATO's eastern flank and will also have a positive impact on the security of Estonia, Estonia's Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said.
In a telephone conversation on Tuesday between Pevkur and Troels Lund Poulsen, Denmark's acting minister of defense, Poulsen spoke about Denmark's decision to start contributing a rotating infantry battalion to Latvia from 2024, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Defense said.
Reorganizations in the defense of the Baltic states started with the decision of the NATO Madrid summit to strengthen the defense posture on NATO's eastern flank. With this in mind, allies' contributions and presence in the region are being reorganized, which means more effective management and a move towards more practical solutions, the press release said.
"For us, this means the establishment of the Estonian division, the permanent presence of UK and French troops with significant military capabilities, the contribution of Iceland, and regular US rotations. In addition, there is a Spanish air defense unit in Estonia, which means that there are close to 2,100 allies with us today. The NATO battlegroup stationed in Estonia is one of the eFP battlegroups that is the most compact, combat-capable and best integrated into the armed forces of the host nation," Pevkur said.
The previous rotation between Danish and French units has now been replaced by a permanent French presence in the UK-led battlegroup from spring 2022. The last rotation of the nearly 200-strong Danish unit in Estonia ended this spring.
The Estonian minister said that Denmark's decision to focus on the battalion in Latvia in the future also marks the end of their contribution to the Estonian eFP battlegroup every second year, as Denmark's resources are limited. At the same time, their focus on Latvia is also good and reasonable from the point of view of Estonia's security, Pevkur added.
Pevkur thanked his Danish counterpart for Denmark's contribution to making the region safer.
"Estonia and Denmark have been very close allies and will remain so. Denmark's contribution and cooperation, both with the Estonian defense forces and with other allies, is very good. Denmark also plans to continue to have staff officers here and to participate in exercises in Estonia to practice NATO activities in the defense of Estonia," the minister added.