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"Small countries have made wrong choice in regard to professional army - Estonian president", LETA


RIGA, July 3 (LETA) - Small countries have made a wrong choice in regard to a professional army, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in an interview in the magazine "Ir".

According to Ilves, professional armies are for large countries, such as Germany and Great Britain, which find no issues in providing a large number of soldiers.

Smaller countries, on the other hand, including Latvia and Sweden, find it slightly more difficult, Ilves explains, indicating that the problem resides in army recruitment.

"Estonians and Finns, and I guess Greeks as well, are the last nations in Europe with compulsory military service," Ilves says, explaining that compulsory military service is basically a training exercise which lasts for one year.

He announced that an exercise is scheduled for the next year, involving 11-15 thousand soldiers, while in theory, the country should be able to mobilize 30 thousand armed soldiers, which is impossible in the case of professional army.

"They are really good, but how many are they? Two thousand? Everything could end after one battle already. And what will happen to the rest of Latvia?" Ilves speculates.

Estonian president wishes to remind that the Russian army has changed. Russia has come to the conclusion that it requires small and mobile fast response units, as they are capable of moving from one place to another at high speed.

"They are constantly organizing military exercises, while their units disappear without a warning and suddenly appear in another place," Ilves warns, stressing that the Baltic States must change its methods as well.