France to send troops, tanks and combat vehicles to Estonia

France is to send five Leclerc tanks, 12 infantry combat vehicles and 300 troops to Estonia next year.

The deployment was confirmed by the French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to his Estonian counterpart, Hannes Hanso, at a meeting of the security forum in Halifax, Canada.

“We recognise that we have to invest in the defence of Europe by increasing the military presence of NATO in the Baltic Sea region and especially in the NATO-member frontier countries,” Hanso said, according to a statement by the Estonian ministry of defence.

He also said Estonia and France had a significant bilateral cooperation in cyberspace as both countries had “significant capabilities” in the field and the challenges both countries faced were similar. The two ministers signed a bilateral cyber cooperation agreement in May 2016.

The French armoured unit is to serve in Tapa under the command of the British NATO battalion.

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Cover: A French Leclerc tank.