Estonian officials welcome UK decision to strengthen eFP deployment

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

Estonian officials have welcomed the UK's decision to double the number of forces in the NATO battlegroup.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the doubling of the deployment at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday in Brussels, the Estonian Ministry of Defense said.

There had been rumors of additional troops being sent to Estonia for several weeks which were also confirmed by the UK ambassador to Estonia last weekend.

There are approximately 850 UK soldiers in Estonia, stationed at Tapa, and this will be doubled in the coming months. The UK leads the Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup along with French and Danish soldiers.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) wrote on social media that it is "an important move for further bolstering our deterrence & collective defense".

"Estonia is deeply grateful to the UK's unwavering commitment to the security of our region," she wrote.

Heads of state reception at Kadriorg Art Museum in Tallinn. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) said: "NATO Battlegroups in the Baltic countries and Poland are a significant deterrent, but it is of utmost importance that allies are ready to send additional reinforcements."

The minister said the allied message to the Kremlin is unequivocal - we do not accept destabilizing European security. "The United Kingdom is an important Ally with whom we share strong historical ties and experience from most challenging military operations," Laanet added.

The decision was also welcomed by President of Estonia Alar Karis.

Karis said: "It's timely, necessary & sends a strong message of unity. European security calls for stronger deterrence."

The UK is also sending naval and air elements to southeastern Europe and additional troops to Poland.

Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops and military equipment on the borders around Ukraine and moved an estimated 30,000 troops into Belarus. Some experts fear a further invasion of Ukraine is likely in the coming months.

Russia is calling for NATO to remove troops from its eastern flank. There are battlegroups of approximately 1,100 troops in each Baltic state and Poland.

NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Source: NATO


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Editor: Helen Wright

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