U.K. Troops Arrive In Estonia To Bolster NATO Force
March 17, 2017
The Estonian military says 130 British soldiers are arriving in the country as part of NATO's efforts to bolster its forces near the alliance's eastern border with Russia.
"The battle group led by the United Kingdom is placed here at the request of Estonia and a shared decision of NATO allies in order to strengthen the alliance's defense capabilities," Estonian defense spokesman Simmo Saar said on March 17.
The spokesman said the troops, due to arrive late on March 17, will be based in the northern city of Tapa, to be joined by some 50 French soldiers on March 20.
A total of 800 British troops and 300 French soldiers will be stationed in Tapa by mid-April.
They are expected to take part in the Spring Storm training maneuvers with Estonian forces in May.
NATO is beefing up its presence in Eastern Europe, deploying four multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland on a rotational basis in an effort to reassure eastern members in the face of an increasingly aggressive Russia.
NATO troops from the United States, Britain, Canada, and Germany are leading the force.
Separately, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on March 17 said the alliance sees "no imminent danger" of a conventional military assault in the Baltic region.
Stoltenberg added, though, that "we are worried" about Russia's actions and possible intentions, but at the same time "it is important that we do not dramatize the situation."
Based on reporting by AFP, AP, The Times, and The Baltic Times
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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