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Ratas: members of the Estonian Defence Forces bring honour to all of Estonia

15. January 2020 - 18:47

Stenbock House, 15 January 2020 – Prime Minister welcomed members of the Defence Forces who served in international military operations in 2018 and 2019 at Stenbock House.

“When we joined international forces, we knew that standing for peace and freedom is neither easy nor safe. Recent events have led to the re-emergence of the dangers that the members of our Defence Forces face every day in these far-off places,” said Ratas.

“The past week has brought us alarming news from Iraq of a missile strike on a military base where Estonians were also stationed. From the country’s standpoint, the security of Estonian peacekeepers is of primary importance for us. Therefore, I was sincerely relieved to hear that they were okay after the attack. Four of them will return to Estonia soon,” Ratas affirmed.

According to the prime minister, the world is still restless and there is still good reason for members of the Estonian Defence Forces to continue to be stationed in places of international crisis and protect a shared worldview and values alongside our allies. This is the only way for people in the most restless places in the world as well as in Estonia to lead more secure lives.

Ratas acknowledged the high level of professionalism of the members of the Defence Forces and noted that they have brought honour to the entire country. He added that this was confirmed by his visit to Afghanistan in October, where he only heard praises of the skills and dedication of Estonian fighters when meeting with representatives of allied forces.

The prime minister affirmed that members of the Defence Forces who have participated in these missions have contributed to strengthening the country, the Defence Forces, and relations with allies.

Ratas also acknowledged the families and loved ones of the members of the Defence Forces, whose support is invaluable for servicemen keeping peace far from home.

The members of the Defence Forces who served in international military operations were gifted a DVD of Tanel Toom’s film Truth and Justice.

In 25 years, Estonia has sent more than 3,000 men and women to foreign missions. The veteran policy of the Defence Forces prescribes numerous support measures for members of the Defence Forces who return from missions, including a period of recovery and relaxation with their families, counselling, and opportunities for refresher training and retraining.

Members of the Defence Forces who participated in the biannual reception served in eight different international military operations in six different countries: Afghanistan, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Lebanon, and Mali.

Photos (Ardi Hallismaa / Estonian Defence Forces):

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