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Feb 26 2022

Northern Europe Operational Update Weeks 07/08 2022

TAPA, Estonia – On 24 Feb, troops of the eFP Battlegroup celebrated Estonian Independence Day, marking 105 years since the Estonian declaration of independence from the Russian Empire in 1918. Though subsequently occupied by the Soviet Union for much of the 20th Century, the fall of the USSR in the early 1990s means that a generation of Estonians have now grown up knowing true independence, individual liberty, human rights and the rule of law. Now a member of NATO, the Alliance of 30 nations is committed the defence and preservation of this independence.

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Over the last two weeks, in response to the aggressive actions of Russia in Ukraine the British Army has been conducting Operation IRON SURGE, which will more than double the British contribution to NATO eFP Battlegroup Estonia. The 3rd (UK) Division Armoured Battlegroup led by the Royal Welsh travelled by road from Sennelager in Germany, through Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. They will arrive early next week in Tapa Camp, Estonia, to reinforce the existing Battlegroup already in place to defend NATO's Eastern Flank.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, over 1,000 military personnel are in an enhanced state of readiness to respond to any humanitarian crisis that might result from Russia's illegal invasion.

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Reinforcing the Eastern Flank – In addition to Estonia, the reinforcement of enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroups is taking place in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland as well.

In Latvia, the eFP Battlegroup will receive reinforcements from Canada, including a battery of M777 artillery, forward observers and an Electronic Warfare troop. Canada is also dispatching a second frigate to NATO's Standing Maritime Forces and re-tasking a CP-140 long-range patrol aircraft to NATO Command and Control, whilst 3,400 Canadian Armed Forces personnel are additionally authorised to deploy as part of the NATO Response Force (NRF) if called upon.

In Lithuania, German and Dutch reinforcements travelled more than 1,000 km in two days, as part of a surge that will include several hundred troops and over 100 additional vehicles.

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In Poland, the United States and United Kingdom increased their contribution to the eFP Battlegroup by 350 troops each, with the United States separately deploying around 5,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to Poland.

All these reinforcements are a visible reminder that NATO stands as one to deter – and if necessary defend – against any threats to Alliance territory and populations.

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Baltic Air Policing – At the airbases in Siauliai, Lithuania and Amari, Estonia, fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter jets from the United States and the Netherlands have arrived to reinforce NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission. These enhanced deployments to the Baltic are a reminder that NATO takes seriously its responsibility to ensure the integrity, safety and security of its airspace.

Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office

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