Julian Robinson — Daily Mail Oct 26, 2016
Britain is sending tanks, drones and 800 troops to Estonia as part of the biggest military build-up on Russia‘s borders since the Cold War – after the Kremlin completed a nuclear drill for 40 million people.
The soldiers will be sent to the Eastern European country and will be joined by forces from Denmark and France, according to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.
The United States hopes for binding commitments from Europe to fill four battle groups of some 4,000 troops, part of NATO’s response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and concern it could try a similar tactic in Europe’s ex-Soviet states.
France, Denmark, Italy and other allies are expected to join the four battle groups led by the United States, Germany, Britain and Canada to go to Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, with forces ranging from armoured infantry to drones.
Tensions are high between Russia and the West after an escalation in posturing between President Vladimir Putin and Western leaders.
Last week Putin sent an aircraft carrier on a bombing mission to Syria in a fleet that passed through the English Channel. In the past week, Britain has deployed RAF fighter jets to intercept Russian bombers nearing UK airspace twice in four days.
Yesterday, Russia unveiled chilling pictures of its largest ever nuclear missile – Satan 2 – which is capable of destroying an area the size of obliterating the UK. Earlier this month the Kremlin evacuated 40 million people in drills to prepare for nuclear war.
Speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Mr Fallon said: ‘I am confirming details today of our deployment as part of the forward presence in Estonia next year, a full sized British battalion with light armour, Challenger 2 tanks, Warriors vehicles, French and Danish companies in support. That deployment will begin next spring [May].’
He also confirmed plans for ‘the first ever deployment of RAF Typhoons to the Black Sea Region as part of southern air policing next year in Romania.
‘I hope this will provide reassurance for that entire region, certainly in Romania, Bulgaria, Black Sea generally and including Turkey.’
Mr Fallon added: ‘This is Britain stepping up in Nato, beefing up the reassurance that we are able to offer. Although we are leaving the European Union, we will be doing more to help secure the eastern and southern flanks of Nato.’
Mr Fallon made his comments as NATO pressed allies to contribute to its biggest military build-up on Russia’s borders since the Cold War.
Reports in Russia suggest the Kremlin has already reinforced its Baltic Fleet in Kaliningrad with two small warships armed with long-range cruise missiles to counter what it sees as a worrying NATO build-up in the region.
Izvestia cited an unnamed military source as saying that the two ships, the Serpukhov and the Zeleny Dol, had already entered the Baltic Sea and would soon become part of a newly formed division.