The UK defence secretary said that Britain is to station troops in the Baltic states to shore up Nato’s eastern borders and deter Russian aggression.
Michael Fallon announced the commitment at the quarterly meeting of Nato defence ministers in Brussels. The deployment is intended to reassure former Soviet bloc members in light of increased tension between Russia and Ukraine.
The MoD has confirmed that about 100 British military personnel will be sent to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The Guardian reports: He said the British troops would be “part of a more persistent presence by Nato forces” in the region.
Those UK service personnel would be part of a new Nato training, evaluation and capacity-building mission in Poland and Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, he said. “They will be part of a more persistent presence by Nato forces.”
The troops will join German and US troops already there and the commitment will initially comprise about 100 troops.
The move comes against a backdrop of heightened tension between the west and Moscow, following Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch airstrikes in Syria.
The Russians insist they are targeting Isis, but western powers say they have largely hit mainstream opposition forces and are primarily designed to bolster the regime of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad.
“Russia is making a very serious situation in Syria much more dangerous,” Fallon said. “We will be calling on Russia specifically to stop propping up the Assad regime, to use their influence constructively to stop Assad bombing his own civilians and themselves to avoid the use of unguided munitions in areas that are not being controlled by Isil [Isis].”
“If Russia wants to help here, the single most helpful thing they can do is use their influence on Assad to stop barrel-bombing his own civilians, their children, his own cities and villages. That’s how Russia could help to resolve this conflict.”