After a few days’ journey from the Sennelager exercise area in northern Germany, a military convoy with six Challenger main battle tanks and other armoured vehicles from the UK military’s Royal Welsh Regiment arrived in Tapa, Estonia, on 25 February.
“The integration of allied units into our defence is not a threat to Russia mentioned by Putin or a violation of his security interests. This is the West’s reaction to the aggressive behaviour of the Russian Federation,” Martin Herem, the commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, said in a statement.
Over the next few days, over 900 soldiers from the Royal Welsh Regiment will be deployed to Estonia, as well as additional vehicles and equipment for the battlegroup. When all the elements have arrived, the Royal Welsh will become the leading element in the UK-led NATO battlegroup in Tapa.
The NATO battlegroups have been deployed to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland since 2017. The decision to move the NATO troops to the Baltic states and Poland was made at the NATO Warsaw Summit in 2016, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Russian-backed separatist warfare in Ukraine’s Donbas region.
The leading country of the NATO battlegroup in Estonia is the United Kingdom, with France and Denmark as contributing countries.
The UK committed more troops to Estonia, following Russia’s aggression and subsequent invasion of Ukraine. The US also announced on 22 February that America will send troops, jets and helicopters to the Baltics.
Photos by the Estonian Defence Forces.