Over 100 British troops arrived in Estonia this week as part of the nation’s largest deployment to Eastern Europe for decades. Their task is to set up a UK headquarters before further forces arrive next month, which will increase total troops to 800.
Britain has a leading role in NATO’s enhanced forward presence alongside other contributing nations that include France and Denmark. The deployment, at the request of the Estonian government, is designed to assure NATO allies of the mutual commitment to collective European security and to deter any form of hostile activity. The UK-led Estonia Battlegroup is one of four NATO multinational deployments to the eastern part of the Alliance. Other nations are deploying to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, the last of which will include 150 UK personnel, on a persistent, rotational basis.
Some 300 UK vehicles have left via sea for Estonia and are due to arrive next week. They include CHALLENGER 2 MBTs, WARRIOR IFVs and AS90 self-propelled guns. French vehicles, including MBTs, are also en route via train.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “In the face of an increasingly assertive Russia, NATO is stepping up its commitment to collective defence. British troops will play a leading role in Estonia and support our US allies in Poland, as part of wider efforts to defend NATO.”