Flag of France (representative image)
Flag of France (representative image)

France sends troops to Estonia, NATO presence increases in Baltic states

ANI | Updated: Apr 19, 2019 21:31 IST

Paris [France], Apr 19 (ANI): Contributing to NATO's increased presence in the Baltic states, France will be deploying a unit of 300 soldiers from its army in Estonia, along with transporting five Leclerc tanks and 20 infantry fighting vehicles, including 13 Véhicule blindé de combat d'infanterie (VBCIs) by rail as part of the FRA-EFP LYNX mission.
The move has sent alarm bells ringing in Russia. The French military deployment is poised to arrive at Estonian town of Tapa, which is merely 140 kilometres away from Russia. Moscow has long voiced concern over the alliance’s activities near its borders, according to Sputnik.
The troops are slated to stay in Estonia until the end of August as a part of the FRA-EFP LYNX mission, aimed at boosting NATO’s presence in the region.
French troops were previously deployed in Tapa for 10 months in 2017. In addition to this, the French Air Force patrolled the Estonian airspace within the framework of NATO’s Baltic air security mission, in 2018.
Recently, the UK had sent five Apache attack helicopters to Estonia's Amari Airbase to join NATO's “enhanced forward presence” along the alliance's border with Russia.
The French units will take part in Estonia’s annual Spring Storm or Kevadtorm drills, which are slated for April 29 and involve 10,000 troops.
Making its concern known, Russia has stated that while the country poses no threat to anybody, it will take attention of any "potentially dangerous activities." (ANI)