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NATO battle group led by the British arrive in Estonia
by Staff Writers
Tallinn (AFP) March 17, 2017


British troops will arrive in Estonia on Friday, part of a NATO move to reinforce its eastern flank in a bid to deter a militarily resurgent Russia, the military said.

The 130 soldiers will head to the northern town of Tapa, to be joined by up to 50 French soldiers on Monday as well as the rest of the battalion in the coming weeks.

By mid-April more than 800 British troops and nearly 300 French troops will be stationed in Estonia. A Danish contingent will replace the French later this year.

"The battle group led by the United Kingdom is placed here at the request of Estonia and a shared decision of NATO allies in order to strengthen the alliance's defence capabilities," said Simmo Saar, a spokesman for the Estonian defence force.

"This decision is based on changes in the international security situation," he told AFP.

NATO decided at a July 2016 summit to deploy its troops to the Baltic states and Poland as a tripwire against Russian adventurism in states formerly under Moscow's control.

Apart from the British-led battalion in Estonia, Canada will lead a multinational battalion in Latvia, Germany in Lithuania and the US in Poland.

Tensions between Russia and the West have escalated over the past two years, triggered by Russia's actions in Ukraine and its military campaign in Syria since late 2015.

SUPERPOWERS
Germany wants change to NATO two-percent budget goal
Berlin (AFP) March 17, 2017
Germany's defence minister called Friday for changes to the way NATO members' commitments to budget targets are assessed, in the face of bigger demands from US President Donald Trump. Just ahead of the first face-to-face talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Trump, the minister, Ursula von der Leyen, told AFP that the NATO target of spending two percent of GDP on defence painted an inco ... read more

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