A convoy of British troops and armoured vehicles of the Royal Welsh Battlegroup are heading to Estonia as part of the UK’s contribution to strengthening NATO’s uplift to Eastern Europe. The Royal Welsh Battlegroup, which includes armoured vehicles and personnel from the Royal Engineers, Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps and Royal Artillery, will leave Sennelager in Germany and bases in the UK today, and begin to arrive in Estonia during the coming weeks. The UK is doubling the number of personnel in Estonia and sending additional equipment, including tanks and armoured fighting vehicles. Troops and equipment have begun the move to Estonia today.
A Company of Danish soldiers and vehicles also form part of the Battlegroup, working side by side with British troops. Part of Operation Iron Surge has seen a convoy of Warrior infantry fighting vehicles and Challenger 2 main battle tanks leaving Sennelager. They are being moved by Heavy Equipment Transports (HET) from 19 Tank Transporter Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps (RLC). Apache helicopters of 1st Aviation Brigade Combat Team, flown by the Army Air Corps, will also be making their way to conduct exercises with Allies and partners in Eastern Europe. In the UK more than 1,000 military personnel, from all three services, are at readiness to support humanitarian response if needed.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is in Brussels today and tomorrow to discuss the UK offer and the situation in Ukraine with NATO Allies. He said: “Alongside our NATO Allies, we are deploying troops and assets on land, sea and air to bolster European defences in response to the build-up of Russian military forces on the border of Ukraine. NATO and our allies have been clear that an invasion of Ukraine will be met with severe consequences. De-escalation and diplomacy remain the only path out of this situation.”
While in Brussels, the Defence Secretary held meetings with several NATO counterparts including the Quad, Turkey, Canada and Italy. Ministers discussed the ongoing Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine and the international community’s response. The UK is playing a leading role within NATO and shaping the international community’s response to Russia. The UK supplied Ukraine with light, anti-armour, defensive weapon systems as well as an additional defensive package of body armour, helmets and combat boots. 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.