Around 120 UK troops have arrived in Estonia as part of one of the biggest British deployments to Eastern Europe in decades, it was reported by the Ministry of Defence on 17 March. Soldiers from the 5th Battalion The Rifles Battlegroup (5 RIFLES), including members of an Armoured Engineer Squadron, Military Police Detachment, Artillery Group and Port Task Group, arrived at Amari airbase the previous evening.
Troops, having flown from RAF Brize Norton by Voyager aircraft, were welcomed by Estonia’s Defence Minister Margus Tsahkna.
The first chalk of 120 soldiers are fundamental to setting up a UK headquarters in the country before the rest of the UK deployment arrives next month (April), increasing the total number of troops in Estonia to around 800.
The UK is taking a leading role in NATO’s
enhanced Forward Presence, alongside several other contributing nations. Deployments are designed to assure NATO allies of the mutual commitment to collective European security. Working alongside the UK forces this year will be French personnel, and from next year, Danish partners. All are there at the request of the Estonian Government.