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Defence Newsletter 15-30 November 2013

03.12.2013  10:09

The following information is gathered from open sources, mainly from the Baltic News Service (BNS), respective defence ministries press releases and websites as well as various newspapers, etc.


THE BALTICS

Baltic states, Poland must promote participation of SMEs in EU tenders - Latvian defmin
On 26 November after the meeting with his Baltic, Polish counterparts in Warsaw Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks said that the Baltic states and Poland must work together to promote the growth of the regional military industry and give small and medium-size enterprises the opportunity to participate in larger EU tenders.

Baltic and Polish Defence Ministers met in Warsaw
On 25 November Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Polish Defence Ministers discussed issues of regional cooperation at a meeting in Warsaw, Poland. The Ministers agreed upon the implementation of the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) based on ambitious exercise schedules and an aspiration to have large-scale exercises held at least once per year.
The Ministers also discussed NATO’s role in responding to the emerging energy and cyber security challenges and discussed possibilities for NATO enlargement.

Latvian and Lithuanian President’s awarded respectivelly Lithuanian and Latvian Chiefs of Defence
On the 23 November Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite on the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Lithuanian Armed Forces awarded Latvian Chief of Defence Lt Gen Raimonds Graube with a state award, the Cross of Commander of the Order For Merits to Lithuania.
On the 18 November on the Occasion of 95th Anniverasy of Declaration of Independence of Latvia Lithuanian Chief of Defence Lt Gen Arvydas Pocius received an Order of Viesturs from the Latvian President Andris Berzins.

Two accused of embezzling BALTDEFCOL funds
Prosecutors in south Estonia have sent to a court the materials of a criminal investigation accusing two officials of embezzlement of funds of the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) based in Tartu, Estonia.
Besides, one of them is accused of counterfeiting or falsification of documents by an official.
According to the statement of charges, the offenses were committed at various times between 2008 and 2010. The pre-trial investigation established that two officials at BALTDEFCOL arranged for holiday trips of some BALTDEFCOL workers to be paid for by using the institution's budgetary funds. According to the investigation data, workers of the college and their family members went on five holiday trips in different European countries for money of the college.


BALTICS AND AFGHANISTAN

Lithuanian formin calls on Central Asian countries to work together on Afghanistan

On 21 November at a meeting of EU and Central Asian ministers, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius stressed the importance of regional cooperation ahead of the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan.
According to Linkevicius, coordinated actions are needed to ensure international security, stability and peace.

Infantry company ESTCOY-16 returns from Afghanistan
On 20 November ESTCOY-16, logistics unit NSE-15 and staff officers arrived at Ämari Airbase, Estonia, after nearly 7 months in Afghanistan serving in ISAF operation. The contingent was greeted by Defence Minister Urmas Reinsalu, defence chief Maj. Gen. Riho Terras, British Ambassador Christopher B. Holtby. All service members returned safe and sound from Afghanistan. The contingent has been replaced by ESTCOY-17 and logistic unit NSE-16.

Lithuanian Special Operations Forces Squadron Aitvaras continue the mission in Afghanistan
Last troops of the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team of Afghanistan, a part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), were welcomed home in September. The mission in Ghor province of Afghanistan was closed, however the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces (LITHSOF) Squadron Aitvaras continue service in the faraway land.
Personnel of Aitvaras continue carrying out combat operations in the south of Afghanistan to enhance security in the country and to create conditions for local population to take over the responsibility for their country gradually.


ESTONIA

Defence minister calls for more competitive defence industry in Estonia
On 20 November defence minister Urmas Reinsalu attended the annual conference of the Estonian Defence and Security Industry. In his introduction speech, Reinsalu called for a strengthening of the Estonian defence industry. To strengthening the industry, the government should place more orders with domestic companies in future and underline the role of R&D in order to develop an internationally competitive and export-orientated defence industry. Estonia’s defence budget is projected to rise to nearly 450 million EUR by year 2022.

Estonian-led cyber project approved by EU defence ministers
On 19 November an Estonian-led project aiming at developing EU’s cyber defence capabilities was approved by EU defence ministers at the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Steering Board in Brussels. Defence minister Urmas Reinsalu attended the meeting. EDA’s steering board was gathered to finalise EU defence ministers’ contribution to the European Council in December as regards capabilities and industry. The cyber project is designed to raise EU member states’ preparedness for responding to cyber attacks. To serve this purpose, cyber defence training and joint exercises will be organised with the help of the cyber lab of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, located in Tallinn. The project is to be implemented as part of EU’s common security and defence policy (CSDP).

Russian military aircraft enters Estonian airspace without permission
On 19 November the Tu-134 flying from Russia’s Kaliningrad region to Chkalovsk in central Russia entered Estonia’s airspace at 11:16 p.m. near the small Baltic island of Vaindloo by half a nautical mile. The incursion lasted for under a minute. The Russian defence ministry has denied Estonian military’s report of a Russian military plane’s unauthorized entry into Estonian airspace.

Employee of the Estonian Defence Forces detained on suspicious of bribe taking
Kristjan Varik, now former employee of the Estonian Defence Forces’ protocol service, has been detained by officials of the Internal Security Service on suspicion of repeated bribe taking. Varik was responsible for organising transport, accommodation and catering for visitors, and is suspected of having placed orders with selected companies. 10 businesses stand as suspects in giving bribes. Varik has left his position after falling under suspicion. Preliminary investigation is conducted by Internal Security Service and directed by the North district prosecutor’s office.

Estonia hosts NATO cyber defence exercise
The November 2013 NATO Cyber Coalition exercise, starting Tuesday, 26 November, takes place at the Estonian National Defence College training centre in Tartu. The exercise involves around 400 information technology, legal and government experts from across the alliance and partner nations improving their cyber defence skills.


Newsletter was prepared by Aistė Aurelija Azbytė-Slott, Anne Astrup Madsen (intern, Tallinn) and Katrine Høgh Rasmussen (intern, Riga).