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Major international drills involving 15,000 troops kick off in Estonia

May 02, 9:30 UTC+3 RIGA

According to the Estonian Defense Forces, the maneuvers will be held on May 2-14 across the republic and also in northern Latvia

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RIGA, May 2. /TASS/. International military exercises Siil (Hedgehog) involving 15,000 servicemen began in Estonia on Wednesday.

According to the Estonian Defense Forces, the maneuvers will be held on May 2-14 across the republic and also in northern Latvia. These will be the largest-ever exercises since the country has restored its independence.

Some 2,000 troops from 15 countries - Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, Georgia, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United States, Ukraine, Finland, France and Sweden - will take part in the exercises. Besides the servicemen, the maneuvers will involve self-defense militias, police and rescuers.

The war games will be held in three stages. On May 2-4 all units will be put on alert, on May 4-7 they will start conducting joint actions, and on May 8-12 the exercises will simulate battle conditions.

"The major goal of the drills will be territorial defense training both in conventional conditions of conducting warfare and also in the conditions of a hybrid war," the Estonian Defense Forces said in a statement.

According to the Postimees newspaper, under the drills scenario, Estonia will defend itself from a hostile state and its three allies. The simulated enemies will be located in Russia and Belarus, a commander of Estonia’s militias said.

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