1000 British Soldiers, Tanks Headed for Russia Borders: Report

1000 British Soldiers, Tanks Headed for Russia Borders: Report
Sun May 29, 2016 20:30:45

The United Kingdom is ready to deploy at least 1,000 troops to the Baltic States bordering with Russia, backing them with tanks and artillery in order to boost the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s buildup in the region, a new report has revealed.

London is expected to announce the decision at the upcoming NATO summit which will be held in the Polish capital of Warsaw in July, The Times reported.

The US-led military alliance plans to deploy up to 4,000 additional troops in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and the British deployment would make up one of NATO’s battalions, the newspaper added.

Originally, the US had planned to provide half of the forces, while Germany and the UK shouldered the rest.

However, Washington changed its mind later on and said it would only provide one 1,000-strong battalion, urging the European members of the alliance to spend more on their own defense.

According to the Times, UK military officials are considering plans to stockpile tanks and other heavy equipment across Eastern Europe to further NATO’s so-called “enhanced forward presence.”

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said in February that “2016 will see a particular focus on the Baltic region” to deter “the Russian aggression.”

“Increasing our NATO deployments sends a strong message to our enemies that we are ready to respond to any threat, and defend our allies,” he added.

The UK’s plan includes sending five extra ships to the Baltic, in addition to HMS Iron Duke and several other warships already there. More troops are also slated to be stationed on a rotational basis in six countries bordering Russia.

In late April, Fallon announced plans to deploy four Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon warplanes to the Baltic countries to defend them against Russia.

Russia and NATO have been locked in a deepening dispute since they cut all practical cooperation in 2014. The military alliance accuses Russia of backing militias in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow, however, denies the allegation, arguing that the Western military pact is using the years-long conflict in Ukraine as an excuse to move closer to its borders.

S/SH 11

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