Stenbock House, 13 March 2018 – Prime Minister Jüri Ratas welcomed at Stenbock House the members of the Defence Forces who served in international military operations in 2016–2017 and earlier.
In his speech, the prime minister emphasised the importance of loved ones in supporting the members of the Defence Forces sent on missions. “I know I should start with the idea that Estonian security begins with Afghanistan, Mali, or Lebanon – the distant lands where you stood for a safe world. But I will start with another one: Estonian security begins from our homes, from the feeling that people care about you and await your return,” Ratas said. The same idea was expressed by Colonel Vitali Lokk speaking on behalf of the members of the Defence Forces: “Support is the most important thing if you are far away from home. I wish to thank all of our loved ones. Waiting at home is often much more difficult than participating in a mission.”
According to the prime minister, Estonian security is currently stable thanks to our membership of NATO and the European Union, but armed conflicts, terror, and malicious intent are far from gone from the world, which is why we must be prepared to contribute to similar operations also in the future. “Peace is the greatest value for us as well as our partners in NATO and the European Union. Thank you for building that peace,” the prime minister said.
The reception was attended by members of the Estonian Defence Forces, who participated in the UN mission UNIFIL and the UN mission UNTSO in Lebanon, the NATO operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan, the European Union operation EUNAVFOR Med, and the European Union training mission EUTM Mali, as well as in the operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, mainly in 2016–2017.
The prime minister gifted all attending members of the Defence Forces with Mati Õun’s book Eesti sõjavägi 1920–1940 (Estonian Military in 1920–1940).
Photos of the reception (by Estonian Government Communication Unit and Estonian Defence Forces):