The United Kingdom (UK) plans to increase its military support for NATO allies and could double its forces deployed in Estonia, the office of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has informed.
“Fast jets, warships and military specialists could be sent to protect NATO allies,” Downing Street said in a statement on Saturday, adding that the UK “is considering options to double the number of troops and send defensive weapons to Estonia”.
The British government has said its offer of additional military deployment to NATO comes ‘in the face of growing Russian aggression’ and could bolster NATO defenses and ‘support UK support for Nordic and Baltic partners’ .
“I have ordered our armed forces to prepare to deploy across Europe next week, ensuring that we are able to support our NATO allies on land, at sea and in the air. “, underlined Johnson, quoted in the statement of Downing Street.
The West accuses Russia of accumulating troops near the Ukrainian border and allegedly preparing for an invasion. Moscow has denied the charges, pointing to NATO military activity near Russia’s borders, which it considers a threat to its national security. Russia has also declared that it has the right to move its forces within its own territory.
Downing Street said Johnson asked Chief of the Defense Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin on Tuesday to brief ministers on the situation in Ukraine. Meanwhile, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace will travel to Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia for talks next week.
The UK is expected to finalize its offer of additional military deployment to NATO allies next week during talks in Brussels.
According to the British government, the UK has more than 900 military personnel based in Estonia. More than 100 British soldiers are deployed in Ukraine as part of Operation Orbital, and a squadron of around 150 personnel is deployed in Poland.
Earlier this week, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in an interview with El Mundo that the European Union was not unanimous on the scope of military assistance to Kiev or on potential sanctions against Russia in the event of a escalation around Ukraine.
Earlier, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his French counterpart Florence Parly discussed on the phone the continued need to strengthen the NATO alliance amid the Ukraine crisis, the ministry spokesman said. of Defense, John Kirby.
“Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by telephone today with French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly… They also discussed the continued need for NATO Allies to demonstrate ‘unity and strengthen the Alliance in the face of possible Russian aggression,’ Kirby said in a press release Friday.
Austin and Parly discussed Russian military activity on its western border and in Belarus, Kirby said. Austin thanked France for its leadership role in deterrence on NATO’s eastern flank and in counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel, Kirby said.
The United States and its allies have accused Russia of gathering troops and military equipment for an invasion of Ukraine. Washington has threatened massive sanctions if Russia decides to invade Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly denied the charges, saying it has the right to move its troops into its sovereign territory and does not plan to attack any country.