TALLINN - At the international Detonator 2021 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) exercise in Latvia, a five-strong team of the Estonian defense forces found altogether 640 explosives on the territory of a former munitions warehouse.
"The opportunity to cooperate with EOD specialists from various countries helps our team to solidify their skills and rehearse at an international level," MSgt. Toomas Kunnapuu, commander of the EOD team, said, adding that the exercise had been an excellent experience for the team.
The objective of Detonator 2021 held from Aug. 30 to Sept. 10 was to find and disarm explosives on the territory of a former ammunition storage facility and rehearse cooperation with EOD specialists from nine states.
The area is located on the territory of a former ammunition warehouse in the Cekule village in Latvia. Used from 1920-1995 and initially built for the Latvian defense forces, the warehouse has additionally also been used by both German and Soviet armed forces. During World War II, Soviet Army guerrillas destroyed the warehouse creating a large amount of unexploded ordinances littering the area.
Systematic clearance of the territory began in 1994, however, over 1,000 of units of ammunition of different kinds are still discovered in Cekule each year. Participants in this year's exercise included Albania, Belgium, Estonia, the Netherlands, Canada, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Sweden, Germany and Latvia as the organizing country.
The main task of the EOD center in the composition of the Engineer Battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade is disarming explosives in Estonia and abroad. Its main activities include the elimination of explosives found and detected in the defense forces' training areas and participation in operations abroad. The EOD center also cooperates with the Rescue Board to find and neutralize explosives found by civilians.