UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to visit NATO troops at Tapa

Boris Johnson at Tapa in 2017.
Boris Johnson at Tapa in 2017. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit Estonia on Saturday to meet with British troops from NATO's battle group at Tapa military campus, it was confirmed on Friday evening.

"I am very pleased to welcome British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Estonia," said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre). "This visit demonstrates the special and very close bilateral friendship between our countries, but also more broadly, that the United Kingdom is our key strategic partner, who will continue to make a strong commitment to allied relations and European security."

Ratas added that Estonia wants a close partnership and a firm continuation of defense cooperation. "We greatly appreciate the United Kingdom's contribution to the security of NATO as a whole in the Baltic Sea region. British military support began during the War of Independence and during the summer their units were on land, air and sea in Estonia," he said.

Reports of Johnson's possible visit to Estonia reached the Estonian press on Thursday but were not confirmed until Friday evening. 

Johnson will meet with Ratas and visit British forces serving at Tapa.  Approximately 800 members of the British defense forces are stationed in Estonia.

During Johnson's visit, there will be an additional police presence at larger transport hubs. There may also be short-term traffic disruptions in Tallinn and Tapa, but no street will be completely closed.

Johnson, who last week won a landslide general election victory, was reportedly invited by his Estonian counterpart the night after the election. Delfi reported on Thursday that while the initial invitation had already been made, the visit was finalized by an exchange of text messages between the two men.

"I had already made an initial request for Boris Johnson to come to Estonia. It took shape tonight; I exchanged an SMS [text message] with him and said he was always welcome to visit his soldiers," Ratas said last week.

This will not be Johnson's first visit to Tapa, he also visited British forces in 2017 when he was foreign minister.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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