Estonian president Lennart Meri has appointed Colonel Vello Loemaa as acting commander of the country’s armed forces, following the forced resignation of Lt. General Alexander Einseln as commander. Loemaa had been promoted only one month ago to the post of acting chief of the general staff in place of Colonel Arvo Sirel who resigned over a corruption affair involving officers on his staff. Until November, Loemaa had been the commander of Estonia’s air force. The 44 year-old Loemaa is a graduate of the ex-USSR’s air force academy. (13)
Einseln, a retired US Army colonel born in Estonia, resigned earlier this month at Meri’s demand and after some resistance, following a political row with the defense minister. Earlier this month Meri nominated Colonel Johannes Kert, head of the paramilitary Kaitsellit (Defense League) as armed forces commander, but the nomination was coupled with Einseln’s ouster and has run into serious resistance in parliament. Pending a parliamentary decision on Kert’s nomination, Meri appointed Loemaa on an interim basis to avoid a vacuum in the top military post.
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