UK doubling troops in Estonia as tanks and armoured vehicles sent to bolster Nato while war rages

Military equipment spotted near Estonia capital, Tallinn

Matt Mathers
Tuesday 08 March 2022 11:38 GMT
British army vehicles seen in Estonia as UK bolsters Nato ally forces

British tanks and armoured vehicles are travelling to Estonia as the UK aims to bolsters Nato's eastern flank amid Vladimir Putin's war with Ukraine.

Last month the Ministry of Defence said it would double the number of its troops in the country and vowed to send more equipment to Estonia, which shares a border with Russia. There are currently 900 British troops in Estonia with 850 more said to be on the way.

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary and Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, visited Estonia on Thursday for meetings with leaders from other Baltic states, all of which are Nato members.

On his visit, Mr Wallace said Mr Putin had "crossed a line" with his bloody campaign in Ukraine as he warned it is "unknown" what weapons the Russian president could use to achieve his aims.

Ms Truss said that western sanctions on Russia must be extended to all banks, including those servicing the energy industry.

The UK is trying to make sure Russia's economy is "crippled" to starve Mr Putin's war machine of cash.

Military equipment on its way to Estonia from the UK (SWNS)

The long line of armoured vehicles was spotted on Wednesday night near Tallinn, Estonia's capital, located about 220km (136 miles) from Russia.

The convoy included a 432 armoured personnel carrier, a FV510 Warrior - an Infantry Fighting vehicle - and a FV434 Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers recovery vehicle.

The line also included three Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicles and was reportedly heading east.

David Hartley, 58, a property developer from Reading, Berkshire, saw the convoy while on the return leg of a 7,500 km driving expedition to the Arctic Circle.

The war in Ukraine entered its ninth day on Friday as fighting intensified in several cities across the country. Overnight on Thursday, Russian forces shelled Europe's largest nuclear power plant, sparking a fire there that was later extinguished.

This map shows the extent of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (Press Association Images)

The UN nuclear watchdog said there was no sign of radiation leaks.

Russia has taken over the strategic port city of Kherson and Mariupol, another port city in the southeast, suffered heavy bombardment as Mr Putin's troops laid siege to the area.

More than 1 million have fled the conflict to neighbouring countries.

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