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.

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Pat Thompson
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Better get on with it before they prematurely scrap HMS Ocean. PS Did the first RAS with her in RFA Olwen…..Ho hum….happy days

Jack
Guest

Ocean was built down to commercial standards and was always going to have a service life of 20 years.
The QEC will be a step change in RN capability.

UK Defence Journal
Guest

Prematurely? There’s nothing premature about it.

Pat Thompson
Guest

Don’t know where you get that from, she wasn’t commissioned until 1998 so she only be 20 years old on disposal. If that’s not premature it is certainly a political disposal.

Ian Wright
Guest

Got rid Cameron will there be another Thatcher.

Daniel Adams
Guest

Pat ocean was built to comercial build standards and by all accounts badly at that. She only had a short lifespan

UK Defence Journal
Guest

Pat Thompson Ocean was built to commercial standards and 2018 was always her envisaged retirement. With respect, I’d suggest a bit of research on the matter.

Steven K
Guest

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.

realfan
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realfan

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.

Philip Lefever
Guest

with what

UK Defence Journal
Guest

The article literally answers that question word for word.

Jack
Guest

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

Steven K
Guest

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… Read more »

realfan
Guest
realfan

Comrade Steven, be careful, your agenda is showing.

Steven K
Guest

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.

Jack
Guest

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.

Steven K
Guest

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… Read more »

David Steeper
Guest

Why don’t the Danes got a mention from anyone they’re gonna be right there with us. Just like they were in Afghan.

David Anthony Simpson
Guest

Don’t you just love some FB posters – rush to make ignorant comments showing they haven’t bothered to read the original posted article or subsequent threads. Sigh.

Hugh Gray-Wallis
Guest

Dave you might be mistaking Facebook for a proper, erudite and informed publication!! ??

David Anthony Simpson
Guest

How could I ever make that mistake Hugh? 🙂

Steven K
Guest

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.