France to send soldiers and tanks to Estonia

Next year France will send 300 servicemen, 5 Leclerc tanks and 13 infantry combat vehicles to Estonia, as stated on Saturday by the Minister of Defense of France, Jean Yves Le Drianto, and the Minister of Defense of Estonia, Hannes Hanso, at a meeting of the security forum in Halifax, Canada, as reported by Estonian public broadcaster, ERR.

"A trusted, allied relationship will be developed between the countries," the French Minister said.

"Estonian and French soldiers have been united in brotherhood during the combat operations in Africa.  We recognize that now we have to invest in the defense of Europe by increasing the military presence of NATO in the Baltic Sea region and especially in neighboring NATO-member countries," Hanso noted.

The Estonian Defense Minister also stressed the importance of bilateral cooperation in cyberspace, and in May an exclusive agreement was signed by Hanso and Le Drianto between France and Estonia.

A French unit with heavy armored vehicles will join a NATO battalion under the command of Great Britain which will be deployed in Tapa.

The Estonian Minister of Defense, while attending the forum, also met with the U.S. Senate delegation led by John McCain and assured them that the new Estonian Government will continue the previous foreign policy and security policy, according to the press service of the Estonian Ministry of Defense as reported by Interfax.

"I confirmed with the Senators once again that transatlantic relationship is key and there will be no changes in security policy.  On the contrary, the new Government is developing an investment program in order to arm and provide our Defense Forces with more modern weapons as soon as possible,” Hanso stated.

  France, Estonia, NATO