Nato troops and the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) have commenced live-fire training in Estonia as part of the annual exercise Spring Storm.

The exercise is divided into two parts, field and live-firing exercises. The field exercise took place from 25-30 April. The live-firing training started on 1 May and will run until 8 May.

Led by Estonia, Spring Storm will see the participation of around 3,200 allied forces. Last year, training was conducted with 9,000 personnel.

The number of troops for this year’s exercise has been reduced significantly due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Spring Storm will evaluate the integration between allied forces and their preparedness in responding to a fictional crisis situation.

This year’s exercise will test their capabilities and response to scenarios such as those caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

EDF commander major general Martin Herem said: “Despite the difficult situation, the training goals practised during the year must be achieved, but at the same time the exposure to civil society must be reduced.”

The training is conducted exclusively on the grounds of the EDF Central Training Area. This is to help avoid contact with the civilian population.

The exercise involves active EDF personnel, conscripts undergoing training and around 1,000 troops assigned to the UK-led Nato multinational battlegroup in Estonia that also includes Danish forces.

Nato spokesperson Oana Lungescu said: “Spring Storm shows how Nato forces can continue to test their readiness, while taking necessary measures protect their health and those of others. Our forces remain ready, vigilant and prepared to respond to any threat.”