Gen. Terras, who was attending the Halifax International Security Forum, wanted to meet with local Estonians, so a morning gathering at a coffee shop was organized.
He answered questions about many aspects of Estonia’s current defences and assured his listeners that with Estonia’s strong military, which includes not only active forces but the National Guard , along with its NATO allies on the ground and in the air, the country is prepared to respond quickly to any enemy incursion. He said Estonian forces are working alongside their NATO allies in many parts of the world including Afghanistan where they fought alongside the British in Helmand province.
Estonia is one of only five NATO members that meets the alliance’s funding requirement of two per cent of GDP.
Asked about reports that NATO forces now stationed in the Baltics, including a 400 member battalion group in Latvia, are subject to hacking of personal phones and incidents with local populations, he said this is the kind of “fake news” that some publications feed on but have no real basis in fact. He said an example of the sensationalism created by some publications after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea was the question of whether Narva would be next. He said the residents of Narva, on Estonia’s border with Russia, are good citizens of Estonia.
Gen. Terras said that with its proximity to Russia and its experience with a massive cyber attack several years ago, Estonia has become the focal point of interest by western military officials and politicians who travel to Estonia on a regular basis. Estonia is also the site of a NATO cyber college.
Gen. Terras accompanied by Estonia’s Ambassador to Canada Gita Kalmet and Defence Minister Juri Luik, attended the three-day, Halifax Security Forum which each year attracts participants from around the world.
This year Turkey sent a 40 member contingent of military officials and politicians.