The United Kingdom (UK) will send close to 20.000 troops to one of NATO’s largest military exercises since the Cold War, in which the alliance will practice repelling an invasion by Russian forces.
Army, navy, and Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel will be deployed in the Steadfast Defender exercise involving 31 countries in a bid to provide “essential security against the threat” of Vladimir Putin, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said in a speech yesterday. The defense secretary also warned that the West stands at a “crossroads”.
Shapps set out his vision for how the UK will repel potential threats as allies remain concerned about the threat posed by the Kremlin, as the war against Ukraine now approaches its second year.
According to the source, Shapps said:
“We are in a new era, and we must be ready to deter our enemies, ready to lead our allies, and ready to defend our nation, whenever the call comes. Today, our adversaries are busily rebuilding their barriers, old enemies are reanimated, battle lines are being drawn, tanks are literally on Ukraine’s lawn and the foundations of the world order are being shaken to the core. We stand at a crossroads”.
Around 16.000 UK troops with tanks, artillery and helicopters will be deployed across Eastern Europe starting next month as part of the exercise.
The Royal Navy will deploy more than 2.000 personnel from eight warships and submarines, while more than 400 marines will be sent to the Arctic Circle.
The RAF will use F-35B Lightning fighter jets and Poseidon P-8 surveillance aircraft.
Defense sources said the exercise would be a preparation for an invasion of a NATO member state by any aggressor, but the main threats being considered are from Russia and terrorists, Klix.ba writes.