British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has made clear that Britain would defend Finland and Sweden if either of the countries were attacked regardless of NATO membership.

Mr Wallace told reporters at a press event:

“Do I think if Finland didn’t join Nato Britain wouldn’t come along to help? No. Britain will always be here in the Nordics, to be part of you, to help you, to support you. It is inconceivable that Britain would not come to the support of Finland, or Sweden, if it was ever attacked, without any big formal agreement.

I cannot conceive a time when we wouldn’t come to support Finland and Sweden no matter where they were with the Nato debate or where they are with agreements. We are European countries who share the same values, who have deep, long histories. A significant number of the British population seem to be descended from Vikings anyhow, so we have that cultural link.”

Both Sweden and Finland are considering NATO membership due to Russian threats.

Earlier this week, British tanks arrived in Finland to “deter Russian aggression”.

British tanks arrive in Finland to ‘deter Russian aggression’

Exercise Arrow is a two-week long training exercise that aims to develop Finnish Defence Forces’ ground combat capabilities and the ability to operate joint fires, alongside international Allies.

The British Army say here that the exercise will test and develop mechanised units operating in a multinational environment, with more than 3,000 soldiers in total taking part.

“There will be the US Army Europe’s Cavalry Regiment’s Stryker armoured fighting vehicle, a mechanised infantry platoon from Latvia with Finnish-made Patria vehicles, the Estonian armoured Jaeger platoon, equipped with CV9035’s, plus the Finnish soldiers using Leopard armoured fighting vehicles.”

Wing Commander Steve Boyle, UK Defence Attache in Helsinki, said:

“UK Defence Forces haven’t been in Finland for a couple of years because of COVID-19. But being interoperable with like-minded allies like Finland, which is one of 10 Joint Expeditionary Force nations, is pretty important and means that we can operate with each other to respond to a range of crises in world.

JEF is on a journey, and we’ve made massive progress in the last year or so. Being able to do things in partnership demonstrates resolve, togetherness and it demonstrates that if a crisis comes, not necessarily in the Baltics or Nordic Baltics, but elsewhere in the world, a group of like-minded countries could get together, think about it, plan for it and be used to operating with each other to go and do something. Exercise Arrow was an “important calendar day” for the Finnish Defence Forces.”

The Ministry of Defence said earlier that the troops from B Squadron of the Queen’s Royal Hussars will be embedded into a Finnish Armoured Brigade, with participation from other partners including the US, Latvia and Estonia. The exercise will improve the ability of UK and Finnish troops to work alongside each other as part of the JEF, “deterring Russian aggression in Scandinavia and the Baltic states”.

This is part of efforts undertaken by the UK to deploy 8,000 troops for exercises across Europe.

Britain deploys troops and tanks to Europe to ‘deter Russia’

The exercises will see 8,000 British troops, 72 Challenger 2 tanks, 12 AS90 tracked artillery guns and 120 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles deploy to countries from Finland to North Macedonia.

British Apache helicopters are also in North Macedonia.

British Apache attack helicopters deploy to Macedonia

The move, say the Ministry of Defence, “demonstrates the Army’s modernisation into a lethal, agile and global force”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was quoted as saying:

“The security of Europe has never been more important. These exercises will see our troops join forces with allies and partners across NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force in a show of solidarity and strength in one of the largest shared deployments since the Cold War. Operating across Europe, the British Army will stand alongside partners, combining our capabilities and shared values, promoting peace and security.”

Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse said:

“The UK makes a significant contribution to the defence of Europe and the deterrence of Russian aggression. The British Army’s series of exercises is fundamental to both. We continue to deploy across Europe, from the Baltic to the Aegean, to train and fight alongside our allies and partners, providing powerful, capable and ready forces to support NATO and show the UK’s commitment to peace and security.

A wide range of units from the Field Army will be involved, from light and airborne forces, to helicopters and armoured forces, supported by artillery, electronic warfare, air defence, surveillance drones, engineers and logisticians. The scale of the deployment, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British Army, will deter aggression at a scale not seen in Europe this century.”

What exercises are planned?

According to the Ministry of Defence here…

  • Troops from B Squadron of the Queen’s Royal Hussars have deployed to Finland this week to take part in Exercise Arrow. They will be embedded into a Finnish Armoured Brigade, with participation from other partners including the US, Latvia and Estonia. The exercise will improve the ability of UK and Finnish troops to work alongside each other as part of the JEF, deterring Russian aggression in Scandinavia and the Baltic states.
  • In May, Exercise Hedgehog will see the Royal Welsh Battlegroup and the Royal Tank Regiment exercising on the Estonia-Latvia border alongside 18,000 NATO troops, including French and Danish, who are part of the British-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence. Hedgehog is the biggest military exercise in Estonia and takes place every four years.
  • Alongside Exercise Hedgehog, Exercise Defender in Poland is ongoing until late May, with 1,000 soldiers from the King’s Royal Hussars Battlegroup and C Squadron of the Light Dragoons deployed alongside troops from 11 partner nations including Poland, Denmark and the United States. This exercise involves Challenger 2 tanks and other armoured vehicles deploying from the NATO Forward Holding Base in Sennelager, Germany. The deployment is supported by 104 Theatre Sustainment Brigade operating from the UK and in bases in Europe.
  • Exercise Swift Response, which also began this week, sees elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and 1 Aviation Brigade Combat Team operate alongside French, American, Italian, and Albanian counterparts in North Macedonia. There are 4,500 personnel on the exercise including 2,500 British troops. The exercise involves parachute drops, helicopter-borne air assaults and sees a company of French paratroopers integrated into the 2 Parachute Regiment Battlegroup and an Italian battlegroup working to a British chain of command.

The Ministry of Defence added that “these exercises showcase the scale and significance of the British Army’s contribution to the defence of Europe and highlight the continued importance of the leadership role which UK plays as a member of NATO and the JEF.”

 

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Martin
Martin
5 days ago

It’s the annoying thing about this government, you never know it’s electioneering, bravado, psyops or grand strategy coming out of their mount. Wallace is the rare exception in cabinet of a professional surrounded by clowns.

Mark B
Mark B
5 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Boris the clown is an act. He is a politicain who has written books on Churchill so he knows exactly how to be a political leader at a time of war. We haven’t had one of those since …. well Churchill. If you just look at the Government’s actions since the start of the Ukraine crisis it is difficult in my view to fault it?

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
5 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Wallace is unstable. He has had a nervous breakdown on primetime TV. He’s just one of Johnsonski’s sycophants and he signed off on the recent savage round of defence cuts. Plus, he offered no support to Penn Farthing who was trying to evacuate stray dogs. I would not want Wallace in a trench under fire next to me

Grizzler
Grizzler
5 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

you are kidding right …evacuate dogs over people …too bloody right he didnt give him support.
It was reported at the time the guy in charge of the UK evacuation was extremely annoyed & frustrated by Farthings ridicuolous demands

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

For once I agree with you David re Pen Farthing.

I’ve no issues with Wallace, I think he’s much better than Fox, Ainsworth, Hutton, Hammond, that idiot Fallon, and numerous other DS we have had.

Contrary to reports cats and dogs were not evacuated before people, as Pen hired his own aircraft crowd funded by people like me for the purpose.

As one of our ex RM, he has earned our help.

Mind you, I’m one of those who prefers animals to the human race at the best of times, and will apologise to no one for that, ever.

Grizzler
Grizzler
5 days ago

You and I will have to disagree on that I feel.
Any plane-individulally funded or not -meant that logistically it impacted on the evacuation of Afghans that we had implicitly implied we were there to help (by our very being there). The ignominious retreat (for that what it was) from there after 20 years leaving people to the Taliban is one of our lowest moments in recent history .Im afraid whether he was a RM or not is a moot point – getting animals out in lieiu of people who had assisted us was quite simply a bloody disgrace.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Agreed, and no worries. 👍 I🐶

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
5 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

We didn’t “leave the people to the Taliban”, many of the Afghans in the rural areas greatly supported the Taliban. Also we gave millions in investment and materials to the ANA only for them to effectively to hand over every inch of territory they held as quickly as they could without much, if any, resistance. And honestly, we should never have been there as long as we were, we should have left once Bin Laden was killed. Stopping Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden was reason we invaded Afghanistan in the first place, not prop up a pro-western government, such a thing… Read more »

grizzler
grizzler
4 days ago

If that was the case why did we not just leave after Bin Laden was killed- ergo it wasn’t just the case. I’m not happy about how the whole exit from Afghanistan was concocted, the speed of exit and the lack of communication from the Yanks showed them for what they are.The lack of capability from every one else in the ‘Alliance’ shows them for what they have become. The exit was a disgrace to the men & women who died doing what they were asked to do. 20 years in there and the Taliban now forcing women to wear… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
2 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

Cameron’s government was so desperate to get out of Afghanistan that shamefully, enlisted men engaged with the enemy got a green letter telling them they were being made redundant – whilst in the field. Ever since, the British Army has had problems with recruitment.

Mike Hannah
Mike Hannah
5 days ago

Penn was one of the last people out and they had ample time to get others out. Plus he took a lot of people out on the Charter flight and it is a bit rich when they were taking up valuable space to get cars out.
As Plato said. A society is judged by how it treats its vulnerable and animals

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Mike Hannah

Bravo. Agreed.

Matt
Matt
4 days ago
Reply to  Mike Hannah

However, his behaviour in bullying and abusing staff to try and get to the front of the queue was a disgrace.

There is also the very questionable ethics of flying stray dogs, escorted, all over the world to new owners, when they could more reasonably – imo – be simply euthanised.

Mike Hannah
Mike Hannah
4 days ago
Reply to  Matt

So who else do you suggest we “ simply euthanise “. Old, disabled all those who are a burden?
Today Dogs and cats tomorrow

Plato may have lived centuries ago about his words about the vulnerable are words the world woukd be a better place if more took heed of them

Matt
Matt
4 days ago
Reply to  Mike Hannah

I suggest we treat human beings as more important, and in a different category, than stray dogs, which is true.

Rather than get lost in philosophical rabbit-holes.

Last edited 4 days ago by Matt
Mike Hannah
Mike Hannah
3 days ago
Reply to  Matt

A lot of people would not have got out if it wasn’t not for those dogs as they were on the transport that would not have been there otherwise .

Not philosophy involved

Matt
Matt
2 days ago
Reply to  Mike Hannah

How many extra people did Farthing fly out in his aeroplane that would not have made it out otherwise?

As far as I am aware that is not the case, but I’ll be interested to be shown to be mistaken.

Mike Hannah
Mike Hannah
2 days ago
Reply to  Matt

The dogs went in the hold, the seats were taken up by refugees.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Matt

Those dogs want to live as much as you and me or any other human. Putting down a dog or cat with a life ahead of it is appalling, simply to avoid transporting them, which PF dedicated himself to do, as did his Afghan animal carers. Abusing staff? I don’t know full details of that, but considering he’d made several attempts to reach the airport, during which either the Taliban had stopped him or when he’d been next to explosions going off, which caused some of his animals to die of sheer terror and probably dehydration, I’ll forgive him for… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
2 days ago

Well said Danielle

Trevor
Trevor
5 days ago

Definitely.

George
George
4 days ago

Agreed Daniele.
There’s plenty of evidence that the rescue of animals was supported by voluntary contributions, and Pen Farthing was on record, even with main stream media have material to support it was not animals over humans.
Cheers,
George

Cymbeline
Cymbeline
4 days ago

I was pretty pleased when Penny Mordaunt got the job but she was shifted out after only a few months. I wondered at the time if she was considered a bit light weight for the post or if it was just too soon in her career for such a high profile post? Maybe she’ll get another shot at it another time.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Cymbeline

Yes, me too.

Mr Mark Franks
Mr Mark Franks
4 days ago

Hook was known to one and all as Buffoon when I served in the military.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
3 days ago

As I understand it the bottleneck for evacuation wasn’t the airlift but the administration. So it really depends how much extra admin time was spent on the animals over people.

Also I’m pretty certain the Taliban would have treated the animals better than the allies we left behind.

James
James
5 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Which savage defence cuts exactly seeing as the defence budget increase last year?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  James

Army cut to 73,000?

Mr Mark Franks
Mr Mark Franks
4 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Wallace is an ex army officer. He served as a soldier in rhe 1St dragoons guards before being commissioned into the Scott Guards. Wallace Is straight talking and is familiar with military thinking.
Pen farthing is a fool, sure an animal loving fool but come on in a situation like that who comes first dogs or the Afgans and families who risked thier lives to help us in Helmand.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Do say more about the nervous breakdown. I had not heard that.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Google it, there’s even youtube video available

JamesD
JamesD
5 days ago

That much is obvious but not sure it’s wise to be stating that while potential NATO membership applications are ongoing

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
5 days ago
Reply to  JamesD

I do agree it might be unwise to openly state it without fellow members supporting the matter, considering we really don’t currently have the equipment or manpower to do so for any length of time with guarantees others would back up the move.

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  JamesD

You reading the headline, at no point in the quotes does Wallace say this. Its bad reporting.

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
5 days ago

I think he is just making public what has already been agreed?
AA

Sean
Sean
4 days ago

All he actually said is we’d support them, we’re currently supporting Ukraine too.

David_s
David_s
5 days ago

Many commentators do seem to think that NATO is the only mechanism of mutual defence – i.e. until they join NATO they are on their own; but look at it this way, Australia and New Zealand aren’t in NATO, but you could be damn sure the UK and USA would defend them if they were attacked. By extension of that, I think even without clarifying statements of this type, an attack Finland and Sweden would have been responded to with defensive assistance – boots on the ground helping them to hold the line; the formality of NATO would just mean… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago
Reply to  David_s

Thanks David. Good concise reply. Agree
Soverign nations used to have mutual defence pacts b4 NATO. Just because we are in NATO does not mean we cannot come to the aide of a friendly nation is being attacked by a bunch of murderous, rapist, looting halfwits who are a poor excuse for a military.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
5 days ago
Reply to  David_s

The US would most certainly defend Australia with whom it has defense agreements if it were attacked. It, most likely, would not defend New Zealand with which it no longer has any official defense relationship given the antagonistic attitude towards the US by successive NZ governments.

Wolf
Wolf
5 days ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

….as well as NZ’s bowing down to China over the last few years.

Last edited 5 days ago by Wolf
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
5 days ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Considering the US reaction to the Solomon’s security agreement with China there isn’t a chance in hell they wouldn’t defend NZ. Whatever they think of the Govt It would be a strategic disaster to not do so and Australia outflanked and potentially cut off from US support if they just stood by.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
4 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

How does the US defend a nation that refuses to allow its aircraft carriers and submarines to enter its ports? You are totally out of touch with sentiment in the US concerning New Zealand. The US feels betrayed by New Zealand and since there is no defense agreement between the two countries any US action requires Congressional approval and that’s just not going to happen.

peter Wait
peter Wait
1 day ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Ironic that China’s CO2 output is helping sink the Solomon islands, five have already been lost under the sea !

Steve
Steve
5 days ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Ukraine has demonstrated, that any nation ‘certaintly’ defending anther is fantasy. Countries will just do what is in their own interest at the time of the attack, treaty or not.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
4 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Has the US committed troops to Ukraine? No.

Steve
Steve
4 days ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

It’s not so much that, it’s more how each country reacted over the last 8 or so years as this war bubbled over, to tell everyone that countries do what is in their interest. For example where was the massive build up of forces on the NATO border when Russia was building up, to make it clear that NATO would protect each other, it didn’t happen because the US was more focused on China.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
4 days ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Australia will defend our NZ brothers and sisters across the ditch here.
I just wish they’d muscle up their defence bit for their own good and extra influence in the SE Asian region. They don’t have FFBNW, but more like NFF!…lol…sorry Klonkie..

DJ
DJ
4 days ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Australia will defend NZ though, which likely amounts to the same thing. Same book, different cover.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
4 days ago
Reply to  DJ

Not quite.

Grizzler
Grizzler
5 days ago
Reply to  David_s

I find it ironic we seem to have forgotten that Ukraine wasn’t in NATO ether , but there were plenty harping on about “not being in NATO” as a reasonable rationale for not getting british troops involved.

Only difference then was that it was obvious Russia was going to invade (or had invaded) Ukraine- Actual action always put a different spin on things.

I still don’t see that Johnson or his ministers have the right to state such things as a given without further parlimentary involvement – whether I agree with them or not.

Squire
Squire
5 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Grizzler your bottom statement is key, totally agree.

David Steeper
5 days ago

This had already been made public in relation to UK-Sweden so it shouldn’t be a surprise. J.E.F. deserves a lot of praise for it’s role in Sweden and Finland seamlessly integrating into NATO. The two militaries train and operate as full NATO members already. Whatever people think of domestic politics and I know there are strong feelings on all sides UK Foreign policy particularly in the Defence field is currently very successfull for the UK and it’s overseas reputation and whoever is in 10 Downing Street I hope would recognise that.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
5 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Well said

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago

Good. No pulling the rug out from under them like we did to Ukraine. Clear message. You attack Sweden or Finland and we fight.

Steve M
Steve M
5 days ago

Good have a definitive statement but we better start buying / building more lots more everything

Cripes
Cripes
5 hours ago
Reply to  Steve M

The big concern here is the yawning gap between the commitments we are taking on and the pitifully small forces we have to fulfill these commitments. All very well for Boris to make grandeloquent statements for the cameras, but his government has just cut the forces to 4 army combat brigades and 6 fast jet squadrons, the lowest levels ever. To put that in context, Ukraine had 19 regular and 8 reserve brigades at the start of the Russian invasion. Britain’s 4 brigades, spread across Estonia, Poland, Germany and with commitments to Norway Romania and now Sweden and Finland, means… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 days ago

That cultural link. Ah, those were the days. Ask any Briton or Saxon.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Indeed. I have Sami reindeer herder in me according to my DNA test, they arrived in Scotland some time in the 1700s judging from my family tree.

They’re northern Finland and Kola peninsula in Russia.

The Scandinavian countries are natural allies.

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago

Went there for a nice 4 day trip mate, Finnish Lapland is amazing, with great people and a great culture. I agree we should support Finland and Sweden, in or out of NATO, against the facist Putin and his cronies. Like you say natural allies.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Never got there, only Helsinki.

Firefox crashed up that way….!

grizzler
grizzler
5 days ago

firefox tends to

Last edited 5 days ago by grizzler
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

😆

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 days ago

Interesting heritage.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Must be why I rarely feel the cold according to the wife, the Scottish crofters in me. 😆

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
3 days ago

Looks like I cannot compete (though no DNA test!). Granddad born in Inverness, stones throw from the river. Dad Pompey, but joined Gordon Highlanders – rode white horse down college steps, I understand. Me Croydon, guv’, but also ended up in Pompey during formative years – (those were the days – put on bus at Victoria with suitcase and taken off at Hilsea; can’t see that happening nowadays, when Chelsea tractors seem essential to take kids around the corner!). Anyway, ended up in RN for a while later on, so no surprise there.
Cheers.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

You’re story is more interesting than mine Gavin.
Me, never served, did apply to join the RAF at 18 and by some weird cock up I got a letter back “rejected for being Italian”
I’m not, I’m British. It’s not like Italy were Red Force enemies then either!
Thought, sod that then, and never re applied.
Born and bred Wimbledon. Home counties accent. Still live in same part of world.
I understand entirely about the blasted tanks some people drive, and not the sort of tanks we want for the army!

Cheers. 😀

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 days ago

Very appreciative of the research you do on the army, Daniele. Don’t often reply as not my forte, if indeed anything is!
Suppose I mainly like the military politics, all said and done.
KRs

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Thanks Gavin.
I’m not far off that state either judging by some of the technical stuff on here!
But I do like my research into our armed forces and MoD.
We have some fantastic posters on this forum, a great resource for those interested.

Cheers.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Restore the Danelaw I say.

John Williams
John Williams
5 days ago

Does the UK have the military to defend Finland and Sweden?

James
James
5 days ago
Reply to  John Williams

Does Russia have a military capable of attacking them?

David A
David A
5 days ago
Reply to  James

No! Not without another humiliation.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
5 days ago

Defend Finland and Sweden with what!! we are maxed out with the commitments we have already. We are thin on the ground, sea and air so unless there is an uplift in the defence budget soon we will struggle to defend our selves.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago

Grandstanding. HMG do lots of it.

I agree with the notion but HMG making these easy to say statements never goes into the details of the how.

Given joe publics total disinterest in military matters and HM opposition obsession with birthday cake, it’s no wonder no one holds them to account on how and with what.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
5 days ago

Sorry to say you are about right, I just hope the MoD makes good with all the replacements of the kit we have sent to the Ukraine as no doubt the cupboard is looking a bit empty at the moment.

JamesD
JamesD
5 days ago

About the cupboard, I am shocked that the brimstone that have been sent are from 2001, not that there is anything wrong with that I’m just surprised the mod have stocks of missiles that old, I’d assumed they would throw perfectly good kit away like usual

farouk
farouk
5 days ago

The problem we have with the Uk is Political apathy and corruption the public who want something to be done about this, instead see their so called leaders following their own personal agendas, be it MPs second jobs, expenses. lies or even stabbing the country in the back, for example how many people took note of the claim by George Brandis the outgoing Australian ambassador yesterday that British civil servants went out of their way to sabotage the £10 billion trade deal between the two countries, this has resulted in disfranchised voters opening the door to fringe groups Lutfur Rahman: Former banned mayor of Tower Hamlet… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by farouk
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  farouk

I cannot disagree with anything you said there farouk. Yes, I did read the Australian civil service story. Civil service are pro EU and anti UK? It’s been suggested as such for years.

“Combat racism” ha, their twisted version of what they think racism is. Anyone who disagrees with them or wants immigration reduced.

Same old story.

grizzler
grizzler
5 days ago

I wil agree with you on that

grizzler
grizzler
5 days ago
Reply to  farouk

How can a banned mayor of Tower Hmlets become a Mayor of Tower Hamlets…is this the guy that was done for fraud regards mail voters & voter intimidation years ago ?

grizzler
grizzler
5 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Dont bother replying Ive just had a look …thank you for reaffirming my absolute disbelilef in the integrity of this county.

peter Wait
peter Wait
1 day ago
Reply to  farouk

Five year ban for corruption in a public office Rhaman should have been banned for life !

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
5 days ago

Yep it would be Sweden and Finland combined forces who would be humiliating any forces that Russia could now raise to fight there so a reasonably safe commitment for the foreseeable. Finland indeed would be the one European Country that would in that region out artillery the great artillery proponent on the battlefield.

Sean
Sean
4 days ago

He doesn’t say “defend”, he says “support”. Don’t believe the sloppy headline without reading the actual quotes.

Jack
Jack
4 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Typical weasel words from a UK politician.

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  Jack

Don’t believe headlines, look for the actual quotes. He’s obviously not going to say we’d fight for them, otherwise they wouldn’t then need to join NATO 🤦🏻‍♂️

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
4 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Ok then “support” with what we are struggling to replenish the equipment supplied to Ukraine. We can barely “support” our own forces already in the feild. This is just more B-S from the government to appease the blinked masses.
It will probably be Finland and Sweden who will be “supporting” the UK if we do not have a complete turn around in defence policy ASAP.

Sean
Sean
4 days ago

Really? Funny there’s been no reports in the press about the UK struggling to either support the Ukraine with equipment or replenish what we’ve sent already. And we know how much the press hate this government 🤷🏻‍♂️
But keep your political rants going if they make you feel better about things, won’t change anything but might help your blood pressure. Alternatively you might want to compare the annual defence spending of European nations, you might be in for a sobering shock…

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
4 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Yet anouther believer

Sean
Sean
4 days ago

No not a “believer”. As belief implies faith, and I don’t have faith in any politicians.
Instead I simply follow the facts, because they provide knowledge… which is why I suggested you look at European defence budgets.

ps: it’s spelt “another”

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
3 days ago
Reply to  Sean

I’m sure the Russian masses think they are following the facts given to them by the Russian media.

Something Different
Something Different
5 days ago

I agree with the sentiment but surely there should be some debate in Parliament on the consequences and risks before committing to defend these nations?

Is this actually the official policy of the government?

Last edited 5 days ago by Something Different
grizzler
grizzler
5 days ago

I believe- fro what has been said on here- thats its the ‘prerogative of the PM’ to decide this …in reality i hope its more nuanced than that …why the **ck would we allow BoJo that decision..he’s an idiot.

Sean
Sean
4 days ago

Wallace at no point says “defend”, he says “support” – presumably the same way we’re supporting Ukraine. It’s sloppy headline writing.

David H
David H
5 days ago

As far as I can see, he didn’t say “defend,” he said “support” – a different matter.

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago

Then lets uplift our physical defence assets, and numbers, to go along and match the rhetoric. I am a full supporter of both nations joining NATO, and as Europeans they are our natural allies, both in history and geography.

Wolf
Wolf
5 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

That’s right, let’s hope it happens.

Shane Ramshaw
Shane Ramshaw
5 days ago

There is a world of difference between defend and help and support. We are helping and supporting the Ukraine right now, but I see no troops defending them.

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 days ago
Reply to  Shane Ramshaw

Yes with politicians you always have to look at what they do not say as much as what they do say. support is not defend. Ukraine thought it had a guarantee of sovereignty from the US, U.K. and Russia. Turned out what the guarantee did not say was far more significant that what it said. Never ever fill in the gaps of what someone had said with your own preconceptions or preconceived ideas. “I can’t conceive of a time” does not mean we will and has no meaning, and Support can mean anything from a visit by a politician or… Read more »

Matt
Matt
4 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Did Ukraine actually think that? I doubt it.

As I read it, the Budapest Memorandum was about recognition and respect for borders, rather than defence guarantees.

Jonathan
Jonathan
4 days ago
Reply to  Matt

It provides defence assurances, what it does is provided justification for action In defence of Ukraine’s sovereignty ( legal cover ) it does not provide a legal assurance of action. So again what it does not say is more important than what it says. But if the U.K. had wished to provide active support for the defence to Ukraine, the memorandum provides that framework which would protect the U.K. in places like the UN or international courts. So if the U.K. had wished to actively attack Russian units or declare war with Russia it has a legal framework outside of… Read more »

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  Shane Ramshaw

Agreed, it’s sloppy headline writing.

Kari Reinikainen
Kari Reinikainen
5 days ago

As a native of Finland and now living in the UK, I am very pleased and impressed by the support the British government is offering to Finland and Sweden. Interesting to note that EU’s only nuclear power- France- has not considered it worthwhile to do anything in support of these two EU members.

Daveyb
Daveyb
5 days ago

Quelle suprise!

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
5 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

France is far too busy envisaging a post war re-cosying up with Russia for economic purposes to actually understand that their endless cosying up has in this case empowered Putin’s thinking that he can get away with acts of this nature deeming Western Democracies as despised, emasculated and self serving hypocrites.

Kari Reinikainen
Kari Reinikainen
4 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

😀

OldSchool
OldSchool
5 days ago

The French version…..France will always be there to help you, to support you, to raise the white flag for you……😆

Jonno
Jonno
4 days ago

Ah yes, well you’re new to the game, so my advice is expect nothing from France and when you get something expect to be disappointed; because you may be. My families experiences from 1939-45 in France, are instructive. I dont want to go into details however they are very varied. Of those uncles of whom I’m fully aware of, 2 were taken prisoner in 1940 (one at Dunkirk, one at St Valery). One fought in Normandy amidst the armoured carnage. However both my parents were in the Navy, where their contact was with some of the Free French who were… Read more »

dave12
dave12
5 days ago

With what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
5 days ago

Well as I pointed out on a number of occasions here and elsewhere NATO would have to defend Sweden, member or otherwise, if it fell the whole northern border of NATO would be indefensible and the Russian navy freed up to operate in whole areas that would currently be lethal, Britain would be in a perilous position too. I would like to think other members take that reality seriously, the danger I would say would be some further south might not recognise the dangers and delay in committing to a prevailing strategic necessity and thus falling into a war rather… Read more »

Jon
Jon
5 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Exactly. If Russia attacked Finland, can you imagine Sweden not joining in? Then Norway and Demark will have to go in. Is Britain going to sit on the sidelines and just watch that war? Absurd! If Finland is attacked, we are all in.

James
James
4 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Exactly, Sweden would mobilise the second the first Russian shell landed in Finland and im sure it wouldnt just be a defensive posture either they would certainly push back and start attacking into Russia itself.

criss whicker
criss whicker
5 days ago

we cant save the world. we have cut and cut and cut, as always untill you are needed then you have nothing left to give.
we need to invest and grow our own military so we can help without depleting our own stocks, just saying.

James H
James H
5 days ago

We better stop the cuts to troops numbers then if we’re pledging to defend everyone……..

farouk
farouk
5 days ago

Video of the Switchblade in action on a Russian dug in postion (well in the process of digging in)

John Clark
John Clark
5 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Some ringing of the ears and loose fillings there Farouk, perhaps even a spoiled hairdo……

Nick
Nick
5 days ago

If the UK is going to make siginificant commitments to defend other countries, we will need a lot more than 227 tanks, 200 combat aircraft, and 19 frigates and destroyers.

Jon
Jon
5 days ago
Reply to  Nick

Already down to 18 escorts, 17 soon. Monmouth has retired, Montrose to follow.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
4 days ago
Reply to  Nick

If only we had 200 combat aircraft!!! I think we are closer to 130 – 140 combat aircaft if you include the P8 MPA and I think I am being optimistic about that number! I am refering to fixed wing aircraft.

If you include the ASW and attack helicopters then we are getting to possibly just over 200. Helos are strictly speaking aircraft and the ASW force and attack helicopters shoot at stuff so are combat aircraft…

Cheers CR

AlexS
AlexS
4 days ago
Reply to  Nick

150 tanks, 110 Eurofighter (all in service?) 20 or so F-35

Cripes
Cripes
4 hours ago
Reply to  AlexS

I think we have 154 fast jet combat aircraft :

24 x Typhoon F2 (the tranche 1s)
107 x Typhoon FGR4
23 x F-35B

In 6 squadrons, all understrength. Which is pitifully small even compared to other European NATO nations.

(It is frequently said on here that we have 7 frontline Typhoon squadrons ,- we don’t, we have 5, the other two are an air combat training squadron and the Qatar training squadron).

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  Nick

We didnt. It’s a misleading, sloppy headline.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Nick

Excluding the reserve regiment (which backfills the regulars), we have three tank regiments (Battalions in US-speak), so that is 168 tanks in the deployable Orbat.

Wilbertron
Wilbertron
5 days ago

“I cannot conceive a time when we wouldn’t come to support Finland”
How about the time the USSR invaded in 1939?

UKVoter
UKVoter
5 days ago

It is ridiculous. We have the EU trying their hardest to break up the UK by splitting away Northern Ireland just because we voted to leave. And they are backed by these countries. We should be strong and say that we will only defend true friends. People who come out and support us in public. Let Finland and Sweden both come out and say that the EU needs to give the UK full control of N Ireland, and let the UK and Irish customs authorities decide how to deal with the border, which they have said they can easily do.… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
4 days ago
Reply to  UKVoter

The Northern Ireland issue re the EU was always going to be a vexing one regarding Brexit. Without doubt the EU have have jumped on it to create and engineer serious problems and twist the knife, while having a quiet chuckle at the issues it’s caused. I see SF are now the largest party in Northern Ireland, hopefully they will ‘actually’ all turn up and start governing Northern Ireland like they are paid to do! So new leadership, my guess is new day, same old shit…. Like most people, I’m sick to death of the never ending bloody moaning coming… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I can see SF turning up at Stormont, but will the various unionist parties?

Cripes
Cripes
4 hours ago
Reply to  UKVoter

The EU is not doing anything, the NI problem is entirely of our and Boris’s making. The EU is a trade block of 27 countries all working to the same trading standards and rules and with no customs or tariff borders between them. Logically, there has to be a hard legal/customs/tariffs border with adjoining non-members, such as Russia, Turkey, Belarus etc. We have opted to leave the EU and join Russia, Turkey, Belarus etc on the outside looking in. Ireland is in the EU, Northern Ireland now isn’t, so there will logically be a hard trade/customs/tariffs border between them. If… Read more »

Sean
Sean
4 days ago

He simply commits to supporting Finland and Sweden, and doesn’t say anything about fighting alongside them to defend them. We’re supporting Ukraine but we’ve not officially deployed forces there to fight the Russians.

The headline is wrong.

OldSchool
OldSchool
4 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Mmm….what about the UK JEF that could be the operating framework of support (Finland & Sweden) are both part of it.

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Being a member of joint unit like that doesn’t oblige you to fight alongside the other members if they are attacked. It just provides an organisation for you to integrate your assigned national forces together should you decide to fight.
JEF is not a military alliance.

Jonno
Jonno
4 days ago
Reply to  Sean

We never sent tanks to Ukraine did we?

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  Jonno

The tanks are on exercise, we’ve exercised in lots of places, it doesn’t mean that we’re allies committed to defending the host nation.

We had troops in Ukraine since 2014, doing training. But we pulled them all out when it was clear Russia planned to invade.

Bill
Bill
4 days ago

This ridiculous sabre rattling from various parts of HMG must stop. It is deeply embarrassing to hear this tripe constantly aired. It doesn’t resonate with voters so simply shut the hell up and put your (our) money where your overworked mouths are; invest heavily in our armed forces now!!

Richard Wakefield
Richard Wakefield
4 days ago

This talk is dangerous! You could argue why we didn’t defend Ukraine on the same basis of being European.
Simple answer Finland and Sweden need to commit to Nato this statement gives them an option not to join!

Sean
Sean
4 days ago

No it doesn’t because the headline is misleading. Wallace said we’d support them, he didn’t say we’d fight for them. We’re currently supporting Ukraine but we’re not fighting for Ukraine.

Though we probably would as soon as they submit NATO applications, even before membership is granted.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
4 days ago

“option not to join”

Yup, that was my first thought as well. However, if Finland and Sweden want certainty about anyone turning up to help them, especially the US as any none NATO action may need Congressional approval, then they need to join NATO.

Besides, Wallace is quoted as say “support” not “defend”.

Cheers CR

Cripes
Cripes
3 hours ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

This ‘support’ word is not a wrong headline, it is a careful use of weasel words by Wallace. It implies that we will go to their military aid if they are attacked by Russia, from which the assumption would be that we would send troops and aircraft to assist them. He is of course not actually saying that, the likelihood is that we would at best send a small token force and more likely sit it out and offer them some Bulldogs or Saxons. It is carefully written spin, designed to give the impression to the public that we are… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
10 minutes ago
Reply to  Cripes

Yup, that’s how I read it as well.

We’d not go into bat against the Russian’s on our own. If we did there may be implications under NATO article 5 as we would not be ‘attacked’ directly by Russia…

To potentialy step outside the cover provided by Article 5 would be a very bold move…

Nevertheless, pledging our support is still significant as our (the West’s) support for Ukraine is proving very effective and could yet be decisive.

Cheers CR

Ron
Ron
4 days ago

I am fully in agreement with the concept of defending Finalnd and Sweden if attacked whilst not being a part of NATO. However with what will we do it with. All arms of the British forces are at a bare minimum. When I served we had 1Br Corp in Germany with four latter three armoured divisions. A RN strength that could send a task force south whilst having enough ships for the North Atlantic and other NATO commitments. With the current and future situation possibly it is time to increase numbers rather then cuts. The Army in my opinion needs… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
4 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Sadly Ron, I don’t think I will live to see much of that come into being but I get where you’re coming from and pretty much agree.

One small point I don’t think I’d transfer the P8 to the FAA though, as the RAF has the big plane experience and a pool of trained engineers, etc. I’d let the FAA focus on ship based aviation.

Cheers CR

Ron
Ron
4 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi CR, I understand your thinking on the P8 yet my concern is that what used to be called coastal command might become a cinderella unit within the RAF. From some of the pilots that I used to meet they all wanted fast jets and air to air combat. Possibly this thinking has gone in the 21 century but it is a concern. Not only that but the best anti sub people are ex submariners themselves which the RAF don’t have.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
4 days ago
Reply to  Ron

I don’t there is a huge risk of the MPA force becoming a cinderalla unit for the simple reason the RAF well understands the need for maritime patrol. After all Coastal Command played a major role in the Battle of the Atlantic in WW2 and maintained a strong MPA capability up until the politicians swung the axe! I would point out that most would be pilots want to be fast jet pilots but not all are cut out to be. Plus the pilot is not the most important person in the crew of a modern MPA – that would be… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Ron

I agree totally with the wish list. I’m also certain the ability to expand to that degree is not realistic or achievable. The Army struggles to man the units it has and is way off the 82,000 headcount already, and not much above the new 73,000 target. We will have 4 proper combat brigades, plus other BCT masquerading as full fat brigades but not. How do you go to 7 divisions from that? Nothing but WW3 and an existential threat and full mobilisation will achieve that. Modest RN and RAF expansion is achievable, plus a serious uplift in army firepower… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago

Daniele, We should not be constrained by present army manning problems in designing structures. Weak army manning can be solved (or at least radically improved), with the first decision being to fire Capita, go back to recruiting in-house, streamline recruiting procedures to reduce the timescale and bureaucracy, make the army more attractive as a career (improve pay and accomodation for starters) and (somehow) improved retention of seasoned soldiers (pay a retention/loyalty bonus every 5 years?). Perhaps shed some OTT wokery from the army? [I served from 1975-2009 – we never had 7 warfighting divisions in that time!] What is your… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Morning Graham. Agreed regards Capita, bring back AR Offices with real soldiers in them. Our farouk did this I recall. I’d also bring back the Royal Tournament. Chinook and Puma in AAC? I recall that was seriously considered in the 95 FLF review, with the AAC becoming a new R Flying Corps. I know there’s political service attitudes between RAF and Army regards AAC operating aircraft over a certain weight. I know elsewhere they’re part of the army, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it? I assume it’s not broke and the RAF SHF provide the service the army… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Like your idea of the T83 Helicopter Cruiser 👍👍

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Go back to 7 fighting divisons? When did we last have seven? I served from 1975 (to 2009) and we did not have 7 fighting divisions then. 21 brigades! Thats never going to happen this side of WW3.

I agree that the AAC should take over Chinook and Puma helos – they work for the army, they should be operated by the army.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yep. We currently have 4 that have the set of CSS to deploy effectively. Down from 8 before 2010.

There are also around a dozen other brigades but they are mostly CS/CSS. In effect, Corps troops.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 days ago

We have 4 well structured warfighting Brigades/BCTs – Ron wants us to have 21 bdes.

Andrew D
Andrew D
4 days ago

Were acting like we have a big Army 🤔

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The Russians have a big army, and watch the Ukrainians spanking them.
We have a skilled, well-trained, disciplined army.
Better the latter than the former.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Sean

True, even better would be a 120,000 skilled, well-trained, disciplined army – as envisaged for the post Cold War army.

Chris Stocken
Chris Stocken
4 days ago

What will the country’s of the EU do?. Their silence is deafening!.

Mark
Mark
4 days ago
Reply to  Chris Stocken

The EU nations are already treaty bound to defend them from hostile actions if requested by Finland or Sweden as part of the EU Treaties. What else needs to be said?

No1_Dave
No1_Dave
4 days ago
Reply to  Mark

If those “EU Treaties” were enough then why does Finland and Sweden feel the need to join Nato?

Simple answer/truth is: it is the military power of Nato (really mainly the US, with UK in active supporting role) that has kept the peace in Europe since WWII.

Farouk
Farouk
4 days ago

The Modern British Military always ready to have your back…side

BA0A14CD-56D7-44F2-8344-0CF3C1B7F533.jpeg
grizzler
grizzler
4 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

I really hope thats photoshopped…..

James
James
4 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

Not sure, the cringeworthy look of the middle and right people holding it may say otherwise!!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Ouch!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Is everyone in the photo gay or are they ‘virtue signalling’?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The later.

Matt
Matt
4 days ago

An interesting conversation.

AIUI, we already have bilateral mutual support treaties with both Sweden and Finland outside NATO, so there is nothing new in the Def Sec’s statement.

nonsense
nonsense
4 days ago

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1072516/sweden-trade-and-investment-factsheet-2022-05-04.pdf Sweden and the UK trade volume is 20 B per year. Assuming that military training costs 2B each year, is this an economically reasonable decision? Is Britain the guardian of Europe? It sounds good. If Britain were the guardian of Europe, I think it would be more effective to manage activities from a longer-term perspective. The EU has vowed to bully the UK if it can and now appears to be in effect. Does NATO seem to mean only Britain and the United States? All the other NATO countries seem to be asleep. If so, it is wise for… Read more »

Grizzler
Grizzler
4 days ago
Reply to  nonsense

We need to be careful that too much tub thumping doesn’t undermine NATO …as I’m sure that Russia would love that (as would perhaps some of the EU to give credence to an EU army). NATO has its faults …being US centric is one…but at the end of the day I’d rather be. In NATO than out….just maybe it needs to revalute its main doctrine

Frank62
Frank62
4 days ago

Pity we didn’t & won’t do the same for Ukraine.

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

Misleading headline. All the U.K. is committed to is supporting Sweden and Finland the same way we’re supporting Ukraine.

However that changes if they apply for NATO membership. Seems that the U.K. will come to their defence once they submit the application and before it goes through the bureaucracy of approval.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Sean

We used to come to the aid of a small threatened nation, whether or not they were in some grand military alliance.

Sean
Sean
3 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

In the days we had a global empire and could enforce pac britannica

James
James
4 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

We are supporting Ukraine, heavily.

dan
dan
4 days ago

Boris is leading the world while sleepy, old Biden follows far behind.

Sean
Sean
4 days ago
Reply to  dan

Dankova at St Petersburg’s based Internet Research Agency on another inaccurate posting attacking the USA. It’s amusing Russia’s attacks on the web are as hapless and incompetent at their attacks on the ground in the Ukraine. The USA has done a great job so far, my only regret is the fumble with Poland over the Mig-29 plan. Otherwise, weapons, munitions, intelligence, and money are all flowing freely to the Ukraine. Seems RasPutin shot himself in the foot by uniting both Democrats and Republicans, including the loony Trump fringe, against him. After the USA, the U.K. is certainly leading the rest… Read more »

Richard B
Richard B
3 days ago

“The exercises will see 8,000 British troops, 72 Challenger 2 tanks, 12 AS90 tracked artillery guns and 120 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles deploy to countries from Finland to North Macedonia.”

In total, that’s roughly equivalent to a strong mechanised Brigade if they were all in one place – rather than spread across half of Europe. And the 72 Challenger tanks must be close to a maximum effort.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Richard B

We have 3 regular tank regiments so theoretically could field 168 tanks but realistically 72 is quite a lot.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago

Well said Ben Wallace! We now need a written Agreement signed off by Boris.

Joe16
Joe16
2 days ago

I am supportive of the general idea behind the words, but frankly they don’t promise much. I think that the government will (quite accurately, for a change) argue that they have come to the aid of Ukraine, even though we have no formal forces actively fighting in country. My reading of Wallace’s statement doesn’t really promise any more than that…
Besides, by the time that the conflict in Ukraine is over, I’m not sure how much of a conventional threat Russia will be for the next 5-10 years…

Graham
Graham
1 day ago
Reply to  Joe16

Then we have 5 to 10 years to get our armed forces recruited to strength, trained and equipped for major warfighting.