Video: Training to fight Russia – how a volunteer force is growing in Estonia

The Time magazine has posted a video on how the volunteers of the Estonian Defence League are training to be prepared in case of a Russian attack against the country.

“A shared border with Russia, and a painful history of Soviet occupation that began in the 1940s and saw the deportation and imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of citizens, spurred all three nations to join NATO once they regained independence in the 1990s,” the magazine says in its video introduction, referring to the Baltic states.

“It has also led them to adopt a broad, society-wide approach to defense that has proved especially relevant more recently, as Russia has ramped up disinformation efforts in the region.”

“Nowhere is that more evident than in Estonia, where 15,000 ordinary citizens” spend many weekends every year training in guerrilla warfare as part of the Estonian Defence League. “And since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, heightened fears that the Baltics could be the Kremlin’s next target have spurred thousands more to sign up,” the magazine adds.

“We are not conscripts. We are not regular army,” Henri, 20, who works in sales, told Time. “We are ordinary Estonian men and women ready to put our blood on the line for every inch a possible occupier would want to gain of our land.”

Training to fight Russia – how a volunteer force is growing in Estonia.

The Estonian Defence League is the name of the unified paramilitary armed forces of the Republic of Estonia. The organisation possesses arms and engages in military exercises, fulfilling the tasks given to it by the law.

The Defence League has over 15,000 active members. In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, almost 2,000 Estonians have joined the organisation.

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