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Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has authorised support to allies in the East of Europe in order to boost NATO rapid response capability.

The news comes as British forces are planning to play a leading role in the recently announced NATO deployment to Poland and the Baltic States.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“I confirm today that Britain will be leading one of four framework battalions to offer more Enhanced Forward Presence on the Eastern flank. We are sending a strong signal of unity and our determination to defend the Baltic states and Poland in the face of continued Russian aggression.”

According to an MoD press release, the package includes:

  • 500 troops to Estonia to provide reassurance and to react immediately to any crisis or incident.
  • Thousands of troops on standby to deploy within days, wherever needed, as the UK leads NATO’s quick reaction spearhead force.
  • Around 150 personnel with equipment to deploy to Poland to operate and train alongside each other to improve interoperability.
  • A target to train 4000 Ukrainian soldiers by the end of March 2017.

Attending the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Mr Fallon said:

“These deployments show Britain taking a leading role in NATO, protecting the security of our Baltic allies. We can do this because we are increasing defence spending every year for the rest of the decade.”

These deployments are on top of the work the UK already does to help NATO bolster the defence of allies in the region. We have:

  • Committed to a minimum of 2% of GDP spend on Defence and have set in motion the most significant programme of strengthening collective defence in a decade.
  • Contributed four RAF Typhoons to the Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission until the end of August. The jets are on 24/7 standby to respond instantaneously to encroachment in NATO airspace.
  • Participated in joint exercises such as Exercise Anakonda in Poland – the largest exercise in 2016 which included 800 troops and Army vehicles.
  • Contributed five ships including HMS Iron Duke, HMS Ocean and HMS Pembroke to exercises in the Baltic Sea.
  • Continued to train the Ukrainian Armed Forces in countering-IEDs, operations in urban environments, medical care, logistics and operational planning. The UK has also gifted over £1million worth of equipment to the country.
  • Provided reassurance and training support to the armed forces of the Baltic States and Poland as part of the US-German-UK Transatlantic Capability Enhancement and Training (TACET) initiative.

The news follows reaction to Britain’s vote to leave the EU which officials claim will not impact the NATO alliance, US Secretary of State John Kerry predicts “an even stronger NATO going forward”.

“We have high expectations of a very strong NATO meeting and important deliverables. That will not change one iota as a consequence of the vote that has taken place.”

In Brussels Kerry met NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“After the UK decided to leave the European Union I think that NATO has become even more important as a platform for cooperation between Europe and North America but also defence and security cooperation between European NATO allies.”

A House of Commons briefing paper claims that the direct impact of BREXIT on the UK armed forces is minimal.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Continued Russian aggression you say?

    NATO military budget ” 400B+” against “46B
    NATO NAVY “1600+ ships, against 300+ russian
    I won’t bother on airforce or troops as again it just looks unfair on Russia.

    I think this madness has to stop, I used to think the West and America were all squeaky clean but that isn’t the case. For heavens sake Russia is a European country and it’s about time Europe grow some balls and tell the US of A to F…OFF.

    I fear real conflict is near with Russia.

    • Ummm I think you may be forgetting that Russia recently invaded another country (Ukraine) and is still occupying part of it.

      Putin is a mad, bad, dog and should be taken behind the barn and shot.

  2. The increasingly aggressive and nationalistic Russia under Putin needs to be challenged.
    Those threatened NATO nations closest to Putin’s Russia deserve support.

  3. Jack with respect, these countries are used as pawns in a game of world dominance by America.

    Europe would be a far peaceful place if the US took a back seat for a change. The nationalistic approach to Putin’s Russia is not surprising.

    Should Crimea have been invaded NO, would it have happened because of EU expansionism and American strategic ambitions against Russia NO

    NATO HAS 20 TO 30 times the budget of Russia I wish people would wake up.

    Things just aren’t what you see and read.

    Look at the Middle East shambles and the Militarisation of the Far East.

    I give it 5 to 10 years and China will have bases in Africa, then the US’s attention will be to gain support and alliance from South America as China will look to gain regional influence and support.

    Russia and China have been forcefully pushed and aligned together which I think is a disaster for the NATO alliance. Yes historically Russia were a threat finding themselves across continents from Germany to Cuba to Laos and Korea but this so called Military might the US have is not deterring the world from conflict it’s bringing us closer to it.

  4. Seriously, please enlighten me on my so called agenda. I’d rather call it a ” pivot” in thought and opinion based on theory, facts and the now.

    What’s funny about the so called battalion set-up and numbers based on the eastern flank is they won’t actually deter Russia but only to intimidate them. That’s really what’s happening to pursue public perception and to create an invisible enemy to justify the existence of NATO and it’s funding of the American military industrial complex and influence on Europe. Its freaking obvious.

    • I am surprised anyone would want to be a mouthpiece for Putin, for years the west and Russia had an increasingly civilised relationship, then Putin turned up with his aggressive attitude to his near neighbours and we are all back to square one.
      Poland and the Baltic states deserve and need NATO’s support.

  5. Nonsense. Why stick a missile defence system in Europe to counter the so called terrorist threat whenTurkey is an able environment. Ffs theres NO russian threat I’d call it self defense.

    Can’t you see this madness is all self inflicted.

    Who have Russia occupied? They are not in Asia, Africa or anywhere that they thought was of national interest and only recently intervened in helping a mad dictator in Assad. Was it right or wrong I don’t know. If Scotland broke away and aligned with russia or China? What would the yanks and the UK government do? It’s the same with Russia and Ukraine. To close for comfort for Putin and a blind man can see that.

  6. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

    “I confirm today that Britain will be leading one of four framework battalions to offer more Enhanced Forward Presence on the Eastern flank. We are sending a strong signal of unity and our determination to defend the Baltic states and Poland in the face of continued “Russian aggression.”

    Sure how rude to post on such an article.

    This whole opera story is called “containment” of Russia and I hope we don’t bloddy pay for it one day.

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