North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops arrive in Estonia to deter "Russian aggression"

'And this isn't just about the Baltic states, this is about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, this is about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation standing up to Russian aggression and being ready to defend and deter'.

Col Steven Gventer, today announced that the United States will be leading a battalion of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops on a deployment into northeastern Poland, beginning in early April, as the latest in a string of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation deployments "in response" to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Eight hundred British soldiers will be stationed in Estonia as part of one the biggest North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military deployments to eastern Europe in decades.

Soldiers from the 5th Battalion The Rifles Battlegroup (5 RIFLES), including members of an Armoured Engineer Squadron, Military Police Detachment, Artillery Group and Port Task Group, arrived at Amari airbase last night.

A fleet of 300 United Kingdom military vehicles are set to join them, including Challenger 2 tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles and AS90 self-propelled artillery pieces.

Estonia's defence minister Margus Tsahkna greeted the soldiers at Ämari air base on Friday (17 March), after they were flown in from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.

On Friday night close to 130 British troops, part of the 1,200-strong North Atlantic Treaty Organisation battle group to be stationed in Estonia this spring, arrived at the Amari air base, spokespeople for Estonian defense headquarters report.

He said: 'In the face of an increasingly assertive Russia, Nato is stepping up its commitment to collective defence.

A further 150 British troops will also be sent to Poland.

Britain is also deploying a substantial force into the nearby state of Estonia as part of the same operation. "Our rising defence budget means we can support those deployments in the long-term and strengthen our commitment to European security".

Lt. Col. Steven Gventer, of the US Army, said: "This is a mission, not a cycle of training events".

  • Salvatore Jensen