Over 4,000 service personnel and 44 ships from seven different countries in the British-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) have been participating in a mission in Lithuania close to Russia’s Kaliningrad. The drills are the largest presence of the Royal Navy in the Baltic Sea for more than a century. However, it’s only the recent in a series by Western forces in eastern and northern Europe.
According to Royal Navy statements, more than 3,000 British troops and 16 navy ships are currently deployed in the region.
Speaking on board the Royal Navy ship HMS Albion involved in the Operation Baltic Protector, the UK’s Defence Secretary stated that London is considering to increase its presence in the region in order to counter the so-called Russian threat.
“Russia is becoming more assertive, we see her deploying more forces and new weapons and we can imagine scenarios that may play out in future. So it is important and right that we stand together with our allies,” Penny Mordaunt said.
“What we have seen here is the largest Royal Navy deployment in the Baltic Sea for more than a hundred years.”
“That gives us an adaptable force, the ability to deploy more than 10,000 people on the whole variety of missions, independently or as part of Nato operations … we have shifted our budgets to be more focused on the region.”
The Defense Secretary one again repeated the mantra about supposed “democratic values”, which the UK and other NATO member states have to defend, in an attempt to justify the ongoing military build up near Russian borders.
In April, the UK deployed attack and battlefield reconnaissance helicopters in Estonia in the framework of NATO efforts to ‘deter’ Russia. The British attack helicopters were set to participate in Estonia’s annual Exercise Spring Storm and to the UK-led battlegroup deployed on NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence.
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