UK defense authorities Friday confirmed they were deploying some 8,000 of its troops to continental Europe between April and June from Finland to North Macedonia in what is regarded as the largest movement of military resources since the Cold War.
Also taking part in the exercises will be representatives of a NATO Joint Expeditionary Force, which includes Finland and Sweden.
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The drills had been planned long before but they were upped in scale in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it was reported.
Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse said: “The UK makes a significant contribution to the defense of Europe and the deterrence of Russian aggression.”
“The scale of the deployment, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British Army, will deter aggression on a scale not seen in Europe this century,” he added.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The security of Europe has never been more important. These exercises will see our troops join forces with allies and partners across NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force in a show of solidarity and strength in one of the largest shared deployments since the Cold War.” Dozens of British tanks and more than a hundred armored vehicles will also arrive in Europe this summer.
Russia has always decried military drills and NATO buildup near its borders, saying that those moves increased tensions in the region and put Europe at risk of a major confrontation.
Meanwhile, troops from the Queen’s Royal Hussars have been deployed to Finland for embedding in an armored brigade. Exercises alongside American troops are also taking place in Poland. The US House of Representatives today passed legislation by 417 to 10 votes to facilitate exports of military equipment to Ukraine, reviving the “Lend-Lease Act” that helped defeat Nazi Germany in 1945. The measure will allow Washington to lend or lease military equipment to US allies.
“Today the Ukrainian people are standing on the front lines in the fight for democracy and against tyranny, and the US needs to provide them with every possible measure of humanitarian and military aid,” Democratic Representative Mary Gay Scanlon said.
Among other provisions, the bill would allow the United States to provide equipment to Ukraine now with just a technical requirement to pay at some later date – essentially giving it to the Kyiv government.
The UK has established itself as one of Ukraine’s main backers and arms suppliers amid the ongoing conflict with Russia. London has already sent anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile systems and is sending armored vehicles to Kyiv, among other things. Ukrainian troops have also been receiving training from the British Army both on home soil and in the UK.
Arms deliveries to Ukraine by Britain, the US, and other European nations continue, despite Moscow's warning that these actions hamper the prospects of peace.