At Thursday's NATO Defence Ministerial meeting in Brussels, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that the UK would deploy a persistent military presence to the Baltic states.
The UK Ambassador to Lithuania, Claire Lawrence, has said of the announcement, that "The UK remains deeply committed to the security of Europe. The UK’s persistent military presence will provide reassurance to Allies on the Eastern flag of NATO. In addition to our ongoing and existing military commitment to the Baltic region, the deployment of military personnel on a persistent basis reaffirms the UK’s commitment to NATO and to collective security."
The UK will periodically deploy company-sized military units to the Baltic States, building on existing deployments wherever possible. The move, which will form part of the Transatlantic Capability Enhancement and Training (TACET) initiative, builds on the UK’s existing contribution to the Baltic region.
Mr Fallon also announced an uplift to the number of UK training personnel based in Ukraine and an increase in the capacity to deliver training by a third. Nineteen UK teams have operated in Ukraine to train nearly 1,600 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at eight training sites. The operation remains on course to have trained more than 2,000 UAF troops by the end of the financial year.
Mr Fallon has said: "We are committed to supporting the sovereignty of the democratic nations of Eastern Europe. We are already deploying RAF jets to the Baltics and providing crucial training to the Ukrainian armed forces. Now we will have a more regular drumbeat of troops deploying in the Baltics and Poland, and will step up our training effort in Ukraine."
Deployments of British military personnel will be conducted under the Transatlantic Capability Enhancement and Training (TACET) initiative, which the UK will join.
TACET is a joint US-German initiative, announced by the two nations at the NATO Defence Ministers meeting in June 2015, that will co-ordinate military activities, training and exercises in the Baltic states and Poland, to provide reassurance and develop capability and resilience.
TACET will complement the NATO Readiness Action Plan (RAP). The UK already makes a substantial contribution to the NATO Assurance Measures that provide assistance and reassurance to Baltic and Eastern allies. The UK’s contribution includes Baltic Air Policing; contributions to multinational exercises; and the embedding of staff officers in the recently established NATO Force Integration Units.