TALLINN - Estonian Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet on Wednesday met with Estonian defense personnel in the Wisent 5 task force, which has concluded its service as the final contingent on the Polish border, and thanked them as well as all previous rotations of the task force for their exemplary service and fostering cooperation between Estonia and Poland.
"Not only have you erected tens of kilometers of border barrier and repaired a large number of roads and bridges, thanks to your contribution, cooperation and friendship between Estonia and Poland have become significantly stronger," Laanet was quoted by spokespeople for the Ministry of Defense as saying.
The minister was given an overview at the meeting of the service and experiences of Wisent 5 over the past month by commander of the task force Lt. Col. Marko Land, platoon commander Capt. Viktor Bubnov and other representatives of the contingent.
Laanet said that his Polish colleague Mariusz Blaszczak thanked Estonia at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Tuesday for its rapid and efficient help against the hybrid crisis that erupted last fall and was orchestrated by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko.
"It helps strengthen defense cooperation between Estonia and Poland, the importance of which cannot be underestimated in the current security situation. Estonian defense personnel have also increased Estonia's renown and visibility among regular Polish people. Thank you for making Estonia bigger and Europe safer!" Laanet said.
The Wisent 5 task force mainly consisted of volunteers from the western territorial defense district of the Estonian Kaitseliit (Defense League) corps. Since December 2021, altogether five rotations, most of them made up of reservists and Kaitseliit volunteers, served in the task force, building border barriers at the invitation of Poland.
Laanet also visited the Estonian embassy in Warsaw on Wednesday where deputy head of the representation Marit Maks and defense attache Lt. Col Artur Lillenurm gave the minister an overview of the embassy's activities, latest developments in Poland and reform plans for the Polish armed forces.