France extends its military presence in Estonia

In March, the French troops will be back in the NATO multinational battalion battle group in Tapa; the French military will also double the number of tanks deployed – twelve Leclerc tanks will be sent to Estonia.

The French military contingent has been deployed in Estonia before, completing two eight-month missions in 2017 and 2019. This time, they will be deployed for 12 months. The contingent, composed of nearly 300 French soldiers, will be integrated into the allied battle group attached to the 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade. 

The French army will double the number of tanks deployed – twelve Leclerc tanks will be sent to Estonia. The Leclerc tank is a French-built battle tank, produced since 1991 and in service with the French Army (222 tanks) and the United Arab Emirates Army (388 tanks).

The French military contingent was first deployed to Estonia in 2017. Photo by the Estonian Defence Forces.

“The extension of the deployment time and the doubling of tanks demonstrates France’s willingness to get involved in the protection of its close allies. The presence of the French military in Estonia is all the more significant as we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries,” Eric Lamouroux, the French ambassador in Estonia, said in a statement.

“We also highly appreciate Estonia’s contribution in Mali, where it has been a major and effective European partner in the coalition against terrorism in the Sahel,” the ambassador added. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the French contingent will strictly comply with the sanitary measures implemented by the French and Estonian authorities, including the mandatory self-isolation.

Cover: The French army will double the number of tanks deployed – twelve Leclerc tanks will be sent to Estonia. Photo by the Estonian Defence Forces.

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