Estonia will accept the invitation by Belarus to send observers to the Zapad military drill to be jointly held by Russian and Belarusian armed forces this September, the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces has stated.
Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports that the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces General Riho Terras has said this week in an interview with Eesti Päevaleht newspaper that Zapad exercises have taken place for decades already, also during the Soviet times.
Terras noted that this summer, Belarus and Russia have already conducted preparatory joint exercises testing communications in July and currently a demonstrative drill is taking place in Pskov, not far from Estonia and Latvia.
«It is important that we know what is going on. (..) That we know in detail what is going on, that we keep track of it and be prepared. But we must also be prepared when exercises aren’t being conducted. I don’t think that anything will occur in the framework of field exercises which could spill over to our side or which we will tangibly be able to see,» ERR cited Terras as evaluating in the interview.
The Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, General Jarmo Lindberg, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Jukka Juusti, will be paying a working visit to the USA from 5 – 9 June 2017. The joint working visit will be hosted by the Finnish Office of the Defence in Washington, D.C.
During their visit, General Lindberg and Permanent Secretary Juusti will meet the Finnish Ambassador to the United States, representatives of the US defence administration and military leadership of the armed forces. During their visit they will also be familiarised with topical issues at the UN Headquarters in New York, where they will meet official leadership of the Headquarters and Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN, Kai Sauer. As part of their visit, General Lindberg and Permanent Secretary Juusti will also attend a reception arranged on the occasion of the Flag Day of the Finnish Defence Forces in Washington, D.C.
In addition to staff from the Finnish Office of the Defence, also the Chief of Staff of Navy Command Finland, Commodore Timo Hirvonen and ADC to the Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, Major Timo Ronkainen will take part in the visit.