UK mulls sending 'hundreds' more troops to Baltics

British soldiers at Tapa Military base.
British soldiers at Tapa Military base. Source: Karl Jakob Toplaan/

Britain is considering sending hundreds more troops to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to rise, the Times of London reported on Friday.

Quoting defense sources, the paper said: "Nato member states have held high-level talks on whether to bolster their presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland."

Under new plans, "hundreds" more combat-ready soldiers could be deployed at short notice.

The Times quoted a defense source as saying: "They [Nato] have asked the question around boosting those [enhanced Forward Presence missions] and the Nato mission in the Baltics. Countries are thinking about what they could do." Asked about the timescale of such a deployment, the source added: "If there was a Nato ally about to have Russian troops knocking on their doorstep then they [the force] would be there quickly."

UK soldiers from the eFP battlegroup in Tartu in December 2021. Source: Helen Wright / ERR

The UK leads NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Estonia with 830 troops and also has 140 in Poland.

Last week, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said NATO was discussing sending more troops to the region. President Alar Karis and Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet have said the same.

The eFP battlegroups have been present in the Baltic states since 2017 and were formed in response to Russia invading Ukraine in 2014.

Russia has demanded an end to such deployments to the Baltic states.

eFP battlegroups in the Baltics. Source: NATO


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Editor: Helen Wright

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