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Britain to deploy 20,000 troops for NATO exercise in Europe –



Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L), British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (C), and U.S. President Joe Biden (R), attend the second day of the NATO Summit meeting on July 12, 2023, in Vilnius, Lithuania. Britain on Monday announced that it will be deploying 20,000 troops to participate in Nato’s Exercise Steadfast Defender during the first half of the year. Photo by NATO/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 14 (UPI) — Britain on Monday announced it will deploy 20,000 troops across Europe during the first half of the year to participate in NATO’s largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War.

The thousands of service members from the Royal Navy, British Army and the Royal Air Force will represent about half of the more than 40,000 troops from across the 31 NATO member states plus Sweden that will be deployed for Exercise Steadfast Defender 24.

“We are in a new era and we must be prepared to deter our enemies, prepared to lead our allies and prepared to defend our nation whenever the call comes,” Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said in excerpts of a speech he is expected give later Monday.

“Today, our adversaries are busily rebuilding their barriers. Old enemies are reanimated. Battle lines are being redrawn. The tanks are literally on Ukraine’s lawn. And the foundations of the world order are being shaken to their core. We stand at a crossroads.”

Exercise Steadfast Defender was announced in September, and is to take place in Germany, Poland and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as a deterrent against Russian aggression. It also marks the 75th anniversary of the military alliance’s founding.

Britain said that its exercise contingent will include 16,000 troops be from the army. Tanks, artillery, helicopters, fighters jets and a carrier strike group will also be deployed, it said.

The announcement comes as Russia’s war in Ukraine nears two years old and as the war in Israel has raised tensions for Britain and its allies.

The British military participated in recent U.S.-led airstrikes in Yemen targeting Houthi militants who have been attacking shipping vessels in the Red Sea.

It also comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced Friday during a surprise trip to Kyiv $3.2 billion in military aid for Ukraine.

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