Vladimir Putin warned British troops are “fully armed and prepared” if he assaults allies | Politics | News | EUROtoday

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Elite British troops are “ready to take the lead” and defend Europe if Vladimir Putin assaults a NATO ally, the Defence Secretary has declared.

Thousands of troops might be on alert to deploy “within days” because the UK assumes command of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force from Monday.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps admitted “the world is a more dangerous and contested place than it has been for decades”.

And Mr Shapps warned Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin that if he assaults a NATO ally, “UK troops are fully armed and prepared” to combat.

Military chiefs are involved the dictator might launch one other offensive if his forces defeat Ukraine within the greatest European land struggle since World War Two.

Mr Shapps instructed the Daily Express: “As the Ukraine conflict nears its second anniversary, it is more important than ever to stand with our allies.

“We cannot allow a dictator like Putin to win this war for all our sakes.

“Today Moscow has threatened Finland, one of NATO’s newest members. As always, we will stand up against that threat.

“UK troops are fully armed and prepared if Putin attempts a major offensive.

“We have some of the best soldiers in the world and some of the most advanced equipment to take the lead at this crucial time.

“NATO does not represent any threat whatsoever to Russia. We have no interest in their territory, but the treaty organisation countries will always defend each other if attacked.”

Some 1,000 British troops are at present primarily based in Estonia as a part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence. British Challenger 2 battle tanks and Warrior infantry combating automobiles are additionally primarily based in Tapa, Estonia to discourage Russian forces from attacking.

Mr Shapps added: “The UK is at the heart of NATO. By heading up NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2024, we are taking another leading position in the Alliance, sending a clear message that Britain is stepping up to our global defence commitments as NATO enters its 75th year.

“The world is a more dangerous and contested place than it has been for decades and we need NATO more than ever. The UK and its allies are committed to supporting NATO and what it stands for.”

Britain assuming command of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force comes at a important second in Europe’s safety.

Concern is rising inside the alliance that if Donald Trump wins the US Presidential election he’ll weaken NATO.

NATO’s performing spokesperson Dylan White stated: “This brigade needs to be ready to move within days to wherever NATO needs it, making it a key part of our collective defence. The UK’s leadership of our highest readiness formation is a clear display of its capabilities and commitment to NATO.”

Reports in Germany had claimed earlier this yr that the army alliance requested Berlin to stay in control of NATO’s speedy response pressure for an additional yr amid concern over the shrinking measurement of the British Army.

But in a transparent message to armchair critics in February Lt Col Ben Hawes, who will lead NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, instructed the Daily Express: “If I ask for it, I get it. I don’t feel like we’ve been under-resourced. Everything has been thrown at making sure we are completely credible.”

Senior figures inside the unit stated troopers are used to working with restricted sources and received’t “cross the line at 100 per cent”.

But struggle requires the “want to fight” and Russian troops will not be “up for it” regardless of outnumbering Ukraine with tanks and artillery programs, British infantrymen imagine.

Set up in 2014, the unit may be instantly deployed to any disaster.

The UK’s seventh Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team – the ‘Desert Rats’ – might be on the “core” of the UK forces main NATO’s elite unit.

The brigade consists of a light-weight cavalry regiment, and 4 light-mechanised infantry battalions with enabling artillery, engineering, logistics, and medical regiments.

Major models embrace the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the 4th battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and the twond battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment.

The UK beforehand led the duty pressure in 2017.

A Russian diplomat on Thursday claimed Finland could be “the first to suffer” if struggle broke out between NATO and Russia.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s everlasting consultant to worldwide organizations in Vienna “Since they are our neighbours, if, God forbid there is some escalation, they will be the first to suffer.”

Finland – which joined NATO in April – shares an 832-mile border with Russia, the longest of any NATO member.

And Helsinki has signed a cooperation settlement with the US which permits American troops to make use of Finnish bases and retailer gear within the nation.

Ulyanov claimed “this is already a serious challenge”.