In the beginning of 2019, a Belgian armoured manoeuvring unit of 200 troops will be stationed in Estonia; the troops will join the NATO battle group stationed in Tapa.
According to the Estonian ministry of defence, the Belgians will be stationed in Estonia for five months, after which they will pass the baton on to the French army.
The Estonian defence minister, Jüri Luik, said that the Belgian government’s decision to send its troops to Estonia shows the fact that even small countries can equally contribute to NATO.
“As small countries, we understand each other’s security concerns better as all of our security depends on the strength of NATO,” he said in a statement.
The Belgian troops will be armed with army battle equipment and SPIKE anti-tank missiles, 120-millimetre calibre mortars, and they also have their own pioneer and battle support unit.
The Belgians will be taking over from the Danes who are currently stationed in Tapa; the first Belgian troops should arrive in Estonia in December 2018.
In the spring of 2019, the Belgians – and also the French who will be replacing them – will take part in the annual military exercise, Spring Storm (Kevadtorm).
Cover: Belgian soldiers with assault rifles (the image is illustrative/Wikimedia Commons).