Estonia

British Chinooks land in Estonia to bolster Baltic defence

Watch: The Chinook deployment is part of a wider allied effort to shore up the Estonian Defence Plan, says UK ambassador to Estonia Ross Allen.

Three British Chinook helicopters have landed in Estonia to bolster Baltic defence capabilities as part of Nato's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP).

The eFP is a multinational Nato force deployed to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, on a persistent, rotational basis.

Watching the arrival of the Chinooks was the British Ambassador to Estonia and the Estonian defence minister Hanno Pevkur, who said the helicopters will help strengthen Nato's eastern flank.

"As we know, the only threat to Nato as an alliance in this region can come from Russia," Mr Pevkur said.

"This is why we have to be prepared. This is why Estonia is putting 2.8% from GDP this year, next year 3.2% to our defence.

"And we are putting a lot of efforts to build up our own army. But, as I said, some of the gaps we have to fill with our good allies."

UK Ambassador to Estonia Ross Allen says the Chinook deployment is part of a wider allied effort to shore up the Estonian Defence Plan.

He said: "The UK is doing more here in Estonia. We're increasing the size of our headquarters and there will be a brigadier arriving soon to be in charge of all our troops."

Mr Allen added: "We also had increased contributions from the Danes and the French, the Americans brought a Himars platoon and an infantry company, which is a really positive development, I think. 

"So overall, combine that with what Estonia's doing and the amount Estonia is investing in its own defence, it means Nato has a really, really strong forward defence which is what's needed at this time."

The helicopters will be integrated into the exercises led by the Nato Enhanced Forward Presence multinational battle group, based in Tapa. About 900 British soldiers are currently rotating in the Baltic Region.