British troops and equipment on the way to bolster NATO in Estonia

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 strengthen NATO's uplift to Eastern Europe.

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. 

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.

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 Logistic 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 our Allies and partners in Eastern Europe.

These training exercises ensure that UK troops and equipment are operationally ready for their deployments.

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. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

In the UK more than 1,000 military personnel, from all three services, are at readiness to support a humanitarian response, if needed. 

Wider Defence support

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.

UK’s leading role within NATO

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 Defence Secretary impressed with his counterparts that Russia needed to match its actions to its words, and truly deescalate.

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.

The UK is Europe’s largest contributor to NATO. We have deployed more troops to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence than any other Ally, and HMS Prince of Wales leads the Alliance’s Maritime High Readiness Force.