Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh have deployed to Estonia, renewing the UK’s commitment to our NATO allies in Europe and standing ready to defend in the face of any potential aggression.
Taking over from 5th Battalion The Rifles, which has been in the country since March, 400 Royal Welsh soldiers arrived this week after departing from their Lucknow Barracks base in Tidworth, Wiltshire. They will be part of an 800-strong UK presence.
Following an official ceremony earlier today, they will now lead the multinational Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup, supported by the King’s Royal Hussars, Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery as well as soldiers from France and Denmark. The battlegroup is part of the 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade.
The arrival of the Royal Welsh coincides with the second in a series of visits from four RAF Typhoons to Estonia, ready to train and work with UK personnel on the ground as well as our NATO allies.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “Nobody should be in any doubt of our unwavering commitment to the security of Europe through NATO in the face of Russian belligerence.
“In the face of intensifying threats, the UK has stepped up across Europe, with soldiers and tanks, typhoons and troops deployed from Estonia to Romania.
“Our Enhanced Forward Presence is a strategic tripwire that we will maintain on an enduring footing.”
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Owain Luke added: “Having completed a demanding period of training in the UK and Canada earlier this year, we are delighted to have finally arrived in Estonia.
“We now look forward to training and operating with the 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade and our French and Danish allies as part of NATO’s wider defensive posture across the Baltic States and Poland.”