Troops, tanks and armoured fighting vehicles to be sent to Europe in one of the biggest deployments since Cold War

UK

Around 8,000 British soldiers are due to be sent to eastern Europe to take part in military exercises designed to combat Russian aggression.

The deployment – which is one of the largest to take place since the Cold War – will see troops placed in countries from Finland to North Macedonia.

Dozens of tanks and more than 100 armoured fighting vehicles will also be sent to the locations this summer under plans that have been bolstered since the war in Ukraine began.

Live updates on the war in Ukraine

The armed forces will be joined by tens of thousands of troops from NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force allies, which include the likes of Denmark, Iceland and Norway.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the planned exercises will improve the ability of UK and Finnish troops to work alongside each other, “deterring Russian aggression in Scandinavia and the Baltic states”.

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  • Tributes paid to former British soldier killed in Ukraine
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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the move will show “solidarity and strength”.

“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,” he said.

British Army Attack Helicopters operated by 4 Regiment Army Air Corps (AAC) 664 Squadron prepare to deploy onto EXERCISE SWIFT RESPONSE located in North Macedonia. ..The deployment of the Apache AH-64 British Army Attack Helicopters into the region will build on the existing relationships with our NATO allies, and promote interoperability with NATO Aviation equivalents. It will also allow pilots, ground support crews, and maintenance technicians to hone their skills in forward locations in order to promote efficient practices, and increase the operational scope of the 1st Aviation Brigade Combat Team (BCT).
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Some of the exercises are set to involve parachute drops, helicopter-borne air assaults Challenger 2 tanks

Read more: The city that’s been attacked since day one where defiant residents hide underground

“Operating across Europe, the British Army will stand alongside partners, combining our capabilities and shared values, promoting peace and security.”

The UK deployment is expected to build to a peak of around 8,000 personnel operating in mainland Europe between April and June.

Some of the exercises are set to involve parachute drops, helicopter-borne air assaults Challenger 2 tanks.

The drills aim to “showcase the scale and significance of the British Army’s contribution to the defence of Europe”, the MoD added.

Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse explained: “The UK makes a significant contribution to the defence of Europe and the deterrence of Russian aggression. The British Army’s series of exercises is fundamental to both.

A number of tanks and armoured vehicles are also being sent to Europe for the exercises
Image:
A number of tanks and armoured vehicles are also being sent to Europe for the exercises

“The scale of the deployment, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British Army, will deter aggression at a scale not seen in Europe this century.”

Exercises alongside American troops are also taking place in Poland.

Ukrainian capital comes under attack after meeting between Zelenskyy and UN secretary-general

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has continued to come under fire, with at least one person killed and several others injured during a strike on Thursday night.

Rescue officials said some civilians were trapped beneath rubble after the Russian attack, which came shortly after a meeting between Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

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Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the Shevchenkivskyi district, in the northwestern part of the city, was hit twice, causing fires in at least two high-rise buildings.

Explosions have also been reported in Chernihiv, which is near the border with Belarus, and Fastiv, in the central part of the country.

Ukrainian authorities also reported intense Russian fire in the Donbas – the eastern industrial heartland that has become a key target for Russia.

Earlier on Thursday, a Ukrainian military official said Russian forces were “exerting intense fire” as they continued the second phase of their invasion.

Former British soldier killed in Ukraine as second Briton reported missing

It comes after a British military veteran was reported to have been killed in Ukraine while fighting Russian forces.

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Briton killed in Ukraine

Tributes have been paid to 36-year-old Scott Sibley, who is the first British national confirmed to have died in the war.

A second British man, who Sky News has chosen not to name, has been reported as missing in Ukraine after travelling there to fight.

At the beginning of the war, Ukraine’s government urged volunteers from across the world to come and help support its armed forces as they took on Russia’s invasion.

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