The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce today that his country is proposing to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank, including sending Typhoon fighter jets to patrol the airspace of Bulgaria and Romania. They will operate from Cyprus, where there are two British airbases.
Part of the package, which includes London’s demonstration of solidarity in the alliance amid growing tensions over Russia‘s military around Ukraine, includes doubling the British military in the Baltic republics and deploying one of the world’s most modern air and missile defense ships
Representatives of the Ministry of Defense will travel to Brussels this week to finalize the details, according to the British press. There are currently more than 900 troops in Estonia, about 100 in Ukraine and 150 in Poland from rapid reaction motorized infantry units. Instructors are stationed in Ukraine, and the country receives more than 2,000 anti-tank missiles from Britain.
Measures that are expected to be officially announced include:
- doubling up to 2,300 people on NATO’s northern and southern flanks (1,000 likely to be stationed in Estonia)
- Typhoon Squadron – (usually it has 12 multi-purpose aircraft of the fourth generation, a variant of Eurofighter, it is not clear how many of them will be for the skies of Romania and Bulgaria
- ship Type 45 in the Black Sea
- patrol ship in the Black Sea
- Apache helicopters in the Baltic republics
- battery with missile systems in Estonia
- The Prince of Wales aircraft carrier, part of NATO’s Arctic Rapid Reaction Force, is ready to move quickly to the region.
“We have ordered our armed forces to prepare for deployment in Europe to ensure that we can support our NATO allies by land, sea and air,” Johnson said.
“This will send a clear message to the Kremlin – we will not tolerate destabilizing actions. If President Vladimir Putin chooses the path of bloodshed and destruction, it will be a tragedy for Europe. Ukraine must be free to choose its own future,” he said this week.
A week of increased activity in Europe by representatives of London at the highest level is forthcoming.
- Prime Minister Johnson might talk to Putin on Monday and travel to several Eastern European countries and hopes to visit Moscow
- Foreign Minister Liz Truss will visit Ukraine and Russia in the next two weeks
- Defense Minister Ben Wallace to visit Hungary, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Croatia and ready to meet in Moscow
- the Chief of the General Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin will brief the government on Tuesday on the latest developments
Russia insists it has no plans to attack Ukraine and accuses the West, especially the United States and Britain, of inciting military hysteria. From Washington and London come some of the strongest voices that Europe is in the worst security crisis since the end of the Cold War, and perhaps one of the most serious since World War II.
Liz Truss told the BBC today that the cabinet did not rule out any options for sanctions, including against the property (so-called Londongrad) of Russian oligarchs in London’s elite neighborhoods. According to her, the situation is such that the country cannot put short-term economic interests first in the long-term survival of freedom and democracy in Europe.
In order not to hurt too many people who depend on Russian money in Britain, the sanctions will be focused on those Russians who are directly involved in the destabilization of Ukraine, explained Truss. “But you should know that we are looking for ways to expand the scope so that all the interests of the Kremlin and the regime in Russia suffer so that Putin’s oligarchs have nowhere to hide, as well as Russian companies helping their country.”
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