Following in France's Footsteps, UK Sends Apache Helicopters to Russian Border
21:55 20.04.2019(updated 22:05 20.04.2019)
Earlier, France sent around 300 soldiers, five tanks, and 20 infantry fighting vehicles to a military base located near the Russian border with the Baltic States in a bid to boost NATO's presence in the region.
Five AH-64 Apache attack helicopters of the British Royal Force have arrived to the Amari Air Base in Estonia as a part of a wider NATO deployment in the Baltic region, press service of the Estonian Defence Forces stated Saturday. The helicopters are expected to take part in the Spring Storm NATO drills and cover the alliance's contingency at the military base near Tapa in Estonia, a city located around 140 kilometres from the Russian border.
The redeployed helicopters will soon carry out their first flights in Estonian airspace, before they join exercises with four British AW159 Wildcat multirole helicopters, which arrived at the base earlier.
Previously, the French Embassy in Tallinn announced the arrival of a unit of 300 soldiers from the French Army and Foreign Legion in the Estonian town of Tapa. The troops will stay in Estonia until the end of August as a part of the FRA-EFP LYNX mission, which is aimed at boosting the alliance's presence in the region. Paris will also deploy five Leclerc tanks and 20 infantry fighting vehicles, including 13 VBCIs, which is a French version of Multi-Role Armoured Vehicles (MRAV). They will be transported to Estonia by rail.
Moscow has repeatedly voiced alarm over NATO's unprecedented activities and boosting its presence in the region, citing the alleged "Russian threat". The Kremlin earlier stated that Russia poses no threat to anyone, but will not leave any potentially dangerous activities without attention.
The alliance has considerably beefed up its presence near Russia in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukraine crisis, deploying battle groups, staging major exercises, and deploying reconnaissance aircraft and drones along the border.
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