BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:30 A.M.) – Military troops from the United Kingdom’s 5th Battalion, the Rifles (5 RIFLES) arrived at the Amari Air Base in Harjumaa in northern Estonia on Friday to set up a UK headquarters inside the Baltic country.
The 120 soldiers are the first of a total of 800 UK troops to be deployed in Estonia for NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence operation which, according to UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, is aimed at deterring “Russian aggression.”
The troops will join around 200 US soldiers already stationed in Estonia and will be joined by additional Danish and French soldiers.
The soldiers are based 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the Russian border and are scheduled to operate in the former Soviet country for five years. This is the UK’s first long-term deployment along the Russian border since the end of the Cold War in 1991.