Estonian troops give up their barracks to NATO allies

An Estonian soldier takes part in a military exercise in Tapa during March of this year Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some Estonian soldiers will have to get used to the outdoor life

Estonian troops have vacated their barracks for a tented camp in order to give visiting NATO allies a roof over their heads.

Hundreds of conscripts of Estonia's First Infantry Brigade are being moved out of their barracks in Tapa, the country's major army town, for tents in nearby Lasna to free up space for allied personnel, broadcaster ERR reports. NATO is sending hundreds of troops to Estonia to bolster the country's defences on NATO's eastern border and, according to the British Army, " to confront threats to global security". The UK is sending 800 members of the 5th Battalion The Rifles Battlegroup to Estonia, to join soldiers from France and Denmark.

Staff Warrant Officer Andreas Rebane of the Estonian 1st Infantry Brigade is making the best of the situation, saying that it makes sense to bump the soldiers into the 640-bed tented camp which stands empty for much of the year. "There are heaters inside the tents; you can take care of your equipment there," he said, pointing out that many of his comrades would be allowed weekend leave. They'll also have access to showers and washing machines.

However, the Estonians will have to sacrifice at least one Baltic tradition: "The main difference with the Tapa military compound is that we live in the open air and there's no sauna," Rebane said. None of the conscripts have complained about this hardship, he told ERR.

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