NATO Mission Lynx in Estonia

Photo report


Since April 2017, France has been involved in the Lynx mission in Estonia. Even though it is not an Opex (Operation Exterior) as « Barkhane », this deployment is relatively large (300 soldiers as well as several vehicles, including 13 VBCI, the last armored Army). Settled in the Tapa camp in eastern Estonia, less than 150km from the Russian border, the French soldiers do not « war », but « prevention » in front of Russia.
The French contingent is part of a NATO-led « Battle Group » and composed of about 30 different units, with a majority of Legionaries from the 2nd Infantry Regiment, supported by the 501st Battle Tank. France has deployed 4 Leclerc tanks in this foreign mission, a first since the French engagement in Lebanon in 2006 and the third out of the country since the creation of this mythical armored vehicle.
On the spot, France’s position is less aggressive than its British and Estonian counterparts. More engaged in a war of communication, the French soldiers spend most of their time on a muddy and cold ground … in training.
« This is a tremendous opportunity for our forces to train, especially with the armies of our allies » said an officer of the General Staff based in Tallinn, the capital of the country.
The aim of the mission: to support the European allies and be here, face to Russia, seriously in the sights of NATO, in order to avoid making Estonia, “another” Crimea (illegally annexed and invaded by Vladimir Putin in March 2014), and thus trigger a second Cold War ….