British troops in Estonia 'prepared to deal with raft of threats' from Russia

British troops in Estonia 'prepared to deal with raft of threats' from Russia

British troops are currently working in Estonia

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The deployment of British troops to Estonia in a bid to deter Russian aggression shows Nato is a "very capable force" that is ready to deal with a raft of threats, a senior UK officer has said.

More than 800 British personnel are currently stationed in the Baltic state as part of Nato's enhanced forward presence (eFP) alongside Danish, Canadian and Estonian forces.

Established to deter potential aggression from the Kremlin, The British Army is providing the bulk of the numbers through the armoured infantry task force of the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh.

Taking a central role in the eFP and based more than 80 miles from the Russian border in the town of Tapa, the senior major of The Royal Welsh, Darren Hughes, said his troops are aware of why they are in Estonia.

Asked whether the threat from Russia is a credible one, the 43-year-old said: "In as much as is Russia a potent military force? Absolutely.

"They are a very professional organisation. Are they a threat to us day to day? No, they are not," he said.

"We are here to show to any potential aggressor that as a force, Nato is very capable and is prepared to deal with a whole raft of threats."

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said in Estonia it is evident that the UK is "taking the lead on the global stage and crucial role in keeping us safe and protecting our national interests from those who wish to harm us.

"We have to be deeply committed to counter the intensifying aggression aimed at Britain and our allies from the Russian State. This threat is real and it is on our doorstep. We should not underestimate the damage Russia could do."

At the Warsaw Summit in July 2016 the creation of the ePF was decided, amid concerns about Russian activity after its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

The eFP is a deployment of defensive, but combat-capable forces in countries which include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

There are four multinational battlegroups across the region, led by Britain, Canada, Germany and the United States, which aim to deter any potential Russian aggression.