UK commits 1,000 extra soldiers to Estonia — media

UK Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace at a press conference in Estonia in 2021.
UK Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace at a press conference in Estonia in 2021. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

A thousand extra troops will be allocated to Estonia by the UK taking the total to almost 3,000, The Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday. The majority will be on standby at home rather than based at Tapa.

The UK already has approximately 1,700 personnel deployed in Estonia as part of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP). The increase will take it up to a brigade-sized unit, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the newspaper from the alliance's summit in Madrid.

The new troops will be on standby and ready to fly out to Estonia if it is deemed necessary, the paper wrote. Their equipment will be based in Germany.

Earlier this month, Germany was heavily criticized after it allocated a brigade to Lithuania but added it will keep most of the forces on its own soil, similar to the UK's agreement.

Wallace defended the decision and argued a surprise attack by Russia on the region was unlikely.

NATO's Eastern Flank (June 2022). Source: NATO

"You are not going to get a massive surprise," The Guardian reported him saying. He added Russia had steadily built up its troops on the border of Ukraine rather than launch a surprise attack.

The UK has also pledged two aircraft carriers to NATO and will give £1 billion to Ukraine.

At the summit on Wednesday, the alliance agreed to allocate brigade-sized units to all three Baltic states, between 3,000-5,000 personnel, and division command structures.

Estonian officials said this is everything they had asked for in the lead-up to the to meeting.

The UK has led the Estonian eFP battlegroup since 2017.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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