TALLINN (AFP) – British army equipment including tanks and self-propelled guns on Wednesday arrived by boat in Estonia, part of a NATO move to reinforce its eastern flank to deter a militarily resurgent Russia, according to Estonia’s defence forces.
The 130 units of equipment arrived at the Paldiski seaport in northern Estonia but will be transferred to the town of Tapa to join the 200 British troops and 50 French soldiers already there.
By mid-April more than 800 British troops and nearly 300 French troops will be stationed in Estonia. A Danish contingent will replace the French later this year.
NATO decided at a July 2016 summit to deploy its troops to the Baltic states and Poland as a tripwire against Russian adventurism in states formerly under Moscow’s control.
Apart from the British-led battalion in Estonia, Canada will lead a multinational battalion in Latvia, Germany in Lithuania and the US in Poland.
Tensions between Russia and the West have escalated over the past two years, triggered by Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its military campaign in Syria since late 2015.