Friday, May 6, 2022

Britain sends 8,000 troops to Eastern Europe for exercises to counter Russian aggression

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It is one of the largest deployments by British soldiers since the Cold War

Britain sends 8,000 troops to Eastern Europe to counter Russian aggression in one of its largest operations since the Cold War.

The troops will take part in military exercises after being sent along with tens of thousands of NATO troops to countries from Finland to North Macedonia by Joint Expeditionary Force allies, including Finland and Sweden.

Dozens of tanks and more than 100 armored fighting vehicles will also be deployed this summer as the war in Ukraine rages on.

The plan to deploy the troops was already in place but was reinforced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană has warned the war could rage for years, and US President Joe Biden has asked Congress for a £27 billion ($33 billion) package to help Ukraine.

It comes as a Briton has been killed in Ukraine and a second Briton is missing, the Foreign Office said yesterday

Former British soldier Scott Sibley, 36, has been named as the first known Briton to have died in the Ukraine war. Both men had reportedly volunteered to fight for Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said its drills would show how the British army had modernized into a “deadly, agile and global force” and help “repel Russian aggression in Scandinavia and the Baltics”.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The security of Europe has never been more important. During these exercises, our troops will join forces with NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force allies and partners to demonstrate solidarity and strength in one of the largest joint operations since the Cold War.

“The British Army will operate across Europe and stand alongside its partners, pooling our capabilities and shared values ​​and promoting peace and security.”

The deployment of British forces is expected to grow to 8,000 personnel in mainland Europe between April and June.

Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse stated: “Britain is making a significant contribution to defending Europe and deterring Russian aggression. The British Army exercise series is fundamental to both.

“The scale of the engagement, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British Army, will deter aggression on a scale unprecedented in Europe in this century.”

Troops from the Queen’s Royal Hussars have already been deployed to Finland, which shares an 830-mile land border with Russia, to take part in Exercise Arrow.

Exercises are also taking place in Poland alongside American troops.

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