WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Britain will send an extra 1,000 troops to take part in exercises in Eastern Europe this year as part of efforts to reassure its NATO allies, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday.
The war in Ukraine, in which NATO says Moscow has supported pro-Russian rebels with arms and troops, has alarmed some of Russia’s other neighbours, who are seeking greater reassurances for their defence from the Western alliance.
“Russia has chosen to tear up the international rule book and trample over the affairs of a sovereign state, we cannot walk on by,” Cameron said at a press conference in the White House following a meeting with President Barack Obama.
“We will be contributing an additional 1,000 troops for exercises in Eastern Europe this year.”
That would take Britain’s planned contribution for 2015 to more than 3,200 personnel, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
This will include exercises in the Baltic States, Germany and Romania, while around 1,000 will take part in a major exercise in Poland in September.
The Royal Navy will also send a task force to the Baltic later this year for a maritime exercise, it said.
Around 3,000 British military personnel took part in exercises in Eastern Europe last year, while British Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets have been involved in carrying out air patrols over the Baltic states.