Challenger 2 tanks and armoured vehicles of the Royal Welsh battlegroup have arrived in Estonia, with further equipment and around 1000 troops arriving over the coming days, according to the Ministry of Defence.
This will lead to a doubling of the UK presence in Estonia, where the UK leads a NATO battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s enhanced Forward Presence.
Additionally, the Ministry of Defence say, RAF Typhoon fighter jets have already completed their first air policing missions across the region, with an additional four aircraft based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.
“Typhoons flying from bases in Cyprus and the UK are now patrolling NATO airspace over Romania and Poland alongside NATO allies with Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft in support.”
Britain is moving army battlegroups, Apache attack helicopters, fighter jets and warships to Eastern Europe due to tensions with Russia. According to a statement:
- The UK is doubling the number of personnel in Estonia and sending additional equipment, including tanks and armoured fighting vehicles. These troops and equipment will begin to move to Estonia today.
- The Royal Welsh battlegroup, which includes armoured vehicles and personnel, will leave Sennelager in Germany and bases in the UK and begin to arrive in Estonia during the coming week.
- Apache helicopters will soon be making their way to conduct exercises with our Allies and partners in Eastern Europe.
- Four additional UK Typhoon jets have also landed in Cyprus and will shortly begin to patrol the skies with NATO Allies in Eastern Europe.
- HMS Trent – a UK Warship – has already begun conducting patrols in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea alongside NATO Allies from Canada, Italy, Spain and Turkey.
- HMS Diamond is preparing to set sail in the coming days for the Eastern Mediterranean and will join up with NATO allies.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace MP said:
“Our armed forces are once again being called upon in the service of our Nation and I salute the bravery and sense of duty shared by all our personnel who have been deployed to support NATO. Alongside our NATO Allies, these deployments constitute a credible deterrent to stop Russian aggression threatening the territorial sovereignty of member states.”
At a meeting of NATO Heads of State and government yesterday (25 February), all 30 member nations agreed that:
“We will make all deployments necessary to ensure strong and credible deterrence and defence across the Alliance, now and in the future. Our measures are and remain preventive, proportionate and non-escalatory.”