UK to send 1,300 troops to Nato exercise in Poland in show of strength

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon says it is important to underline Nato's commitment to the collective security of its members

More than 1,300 British troops are to take part in a major Nato exercise in Eastern Europe in a further show of strength by the Western alliance in the face of Russia's continuing “destabilisation” of Ukraine.

Speaking on a visit to Warsaw, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, said that the UK would be sending a full battle group to take part in Exercise Black Eagle in Poland this autumn, in the largest British commitment to the region since 2008.

The announcement came as David Cameron and other key EU leaders agreed to press for a final deal on far reaching economic sanctions against Moscow targeting Russia's defence, energy and financial sectors.

In a conference call with US president Barack Obama, Mr Cameron, Germany's chancellor Angel Merkel, French president Francois Hollande and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, all accepted measures should be in place as "soon as possible", Downing St said.

 

A No 10 source said that they now hoped to see them push forward on the so-called "Tier 3" measures at a meeting tomorrow of EU ambassadors, although the source acknowledged that it would require agreement of all 28 nations.

"There was a clear sense that the European members states on the call would like to see agreement tomorrow, but until it is done it is not done. But we think it is important to make progress," the source said.

If agreed, the measures are expected to go beyond the existing travel bans and asset freezes against individuals and hit Russia's access to European capital markets and trade in the defence sector and sensitive technologies in the energy sector.

READ MORE: Voices in Danger - The innocent journalist kidnapped by Russian separatists for 'spying'
Black boxes show MH17 plane suffered 'massive explosive decompression'
Russia ordered to pay £30bn to Yukos shareholders

Earlier, Mr Fallon, on a joint visit to Poland with Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, said that it was important to underline Nato's commitment to the collective security of its members at a time of heightened tensions in the region.

"It is right that Nato members and partners demonstrate our commitment to the collective security of our allies in Eastern Europe," he said.

"In particular, the commitment of a battle group to Exercise Black Eagle shows our sustained and substantial support to Nato's eastern border."

He said that the issue would also be high on the agenda when Nato leaders gather for their summit in Wales in September.

"We have a strong opportunity at the Nato summit to discuss how we will continue our response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and its destabilisation of eastern Ukraine," he said.

"The UK is playing a central role and we are not ruling out further enhancements."

In all, Britain is to deploy 1,350 personnel and more than 350 armoured and other vehicles to take part in Exercise Black Eagle.

Since Russia's annexation of Crimea, the UK has deployed RAF Typhoon jets to the Nato Baltic air policing mission, as well as participating in smaller scale army exercises across Europe.

At the end of August light infantry troops from 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, will take part in the US-led Exercise Sabre Junction, which is also taking place in Poland.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you familiar with the sayin...

Recruitment Genius: Hospitality Assistant

£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker

£6 - £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most