UK wants to deploy additional troops to Europe to send ‘a clear message to the Kremlin’

This is Boris Johnson’s response to what he calls “Russian hostility”. The UK will offer deployment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ” important “ of troops, warships and fighter planes in Europe, the British Prime Minister announced on Saturday, January 29.

The proposal, expected to be made at a meeting of NATO military chiefs next week, could see London double Britain’s contingent of some 1,150 troops currently deployed in Eastern Europe and provide “defensive weapons” to Estonia, according to the Prime Minister’s office.

“This set of measures would send a clear message to the Kremlin: we will not tolerate their destabilizing activity and we will always side with our NATO allies in the face of Russian hostility.”he said in a statement released Saturday night. “I have instructed our armed forces to prepare to deploy troops to Europe next week, so that we can provide ground, air and naval support to our NATO allies.”Boris Johnson said.

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“A tragedy for Europe”

Relations between Russia and the West have reached their lowest point since the Cold War. Russia has deployed tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine’s borders in recent months, raising fears of an invasion. While the Russian government denies such plans, it insists on written guarantees for Russia’s security, including a promise that Ukraine will not join NATO.

If Russian President Vladimir Putin had to choose the path “of bloodshed and destruction” in Ukraine, “It would be a tragedy for all of Europe”says Boris Johnson. “Ukraine must remain free to choose its own future”adds the Prime Minister.

The planned deployment will strengthen NATO defenses and “Complying with the UK’s support for its Nordic and Baltic partners”according to the Prime Minister’s office.

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Roll back Putin

Some 900 British soldiers are already deployed in Estonia and around 100 are in Ukraine, as part of a training mission that began in 2015. Some 150 soldiers from a light armored unit are currently in Poland. the aircraft carrier Prince of Waleswho is in the Arctic region, leading a NATO rapid intervention maritime detachment, is on alert, “in case the tension continues to rise”Downing Street said.

Johnson, who has been under intense political pressure for several weeks due to a series of party-linked scandals in Downing Street during the lockdown, said on Friday that he would call Vladimir Putin in the coming days to urge him to “to go back” and engage more in the diplomatic channel on Ukraine. The head of the British government is also due to make a trip to the region in the coming days.

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Foreign Minister Liz Truss and Defense Minister Ben Wallace will travel to Moscow for talks with their Russian counterparts in the coming days. “They will work to improve relations with President Putin and promote de-escalation”near Downing Street.

British diplomacy must announce, on Monday, in Parliament a tightening of its sanctions regime, to allow the United Kingdom, accused of turning a blind eye to the entry of Russian funds on its soil, to target the strategic and financial interests of Moscow.

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The world with AFP

Jamie Franklin

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