UK to send fighter jets and Chinooks to Russia's doorstep as Sunak beefs up NATO defence

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The UK will deploy Typhoon fighter jets, Chinooks and Apache attack helicopters to Estonia as Rishi Sunak vowed to “be the bedrock of NATO for generations to come”. This comes ahead of a meeting between the Prime Minister and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tomorrow. Mr Sunak will host Mr Stoltenberg in Downing Street to discuss the future of security and deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic area.

In a statement this evening, Mr Sunak vowed the UK would be “the bedrock of NATO for generations to come”, adding: “We must not take peace at home for granted”.

Downing Street says the leaders will discuss ongoing support for Ukrainian forces and how the alliance can support Kyiv.

They will also “look to the future of the NATO alliance”, addressing how the UK can “ensure it is fighting fit for generations to come”.

The UK has agreed to deploy Typhoon fighter jets, Chinooks and Apache attack helicopters to Estonia in a significant strengthening of the alliance between the two countries.

British Typhoon fighter jets will be sent to the Baltic nation in April, Chinooks will be deployed in January and Apaches in March.

Estonia will also build four additional barracks for UK troops to stay in.

Mr Sunak said the NATO military alliance must “evolve” as the Estonian Ministry of Defence announced an increased British presence in the country.

Speaking about the collaboration with the Baltic nation, Mr Wallace said: “The UK’s commitment to Estonia and European defence and security is unwavering.”

He added: “The deployment of assets such as Apache and Chinook helicopters to exercise in Estonia is a clear example of the strength of our relationship, and the importance we place on our ability to effectively operate side by side.”

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Sunak also confirmed that the UK will send a further 12,000 sleeping kits and 150 heated tents to help Ukrainian troops fight through the winter.

The UK is set to deliver more than 25,000 sets of extreme cold weather clothing by mid-December, ensuring troops are able to operate and survive the plunging temperatures in Ukraine.

The extreme cold weather kits are in addition to more than 7,000 sets of normal cold weather kits distributed to recruits on Operation Interflex.

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Mr Sunak said: “NATO is the cornerstone of our security, and the security of our allies. As the war in Ukraine continues to rage, we must not take peace at home for granted.

“I am determined the UK will be the bedrock of NATO for generations to come. But in order to face the challenges future we must evolve as an Alliance to meet, and remain ahead of, the threat from our adversaries.

“We must also continue backing the Ukrainian people in their resistance to Putin’s brutality. I’m pleased that UK-donated kit will be keeping the Ukrainian Armed Forces warm and safe as they face a perilous winter fighting for their country.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “With winter fast approaching, this equipment will ensure that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are able to operate effectively through the next few months.

“Alongside our training programme and the provision of lethal aid, it demonstrates our commitment to making sure that the basic Ukrainian soldier is well trained, well equipped and given the best possible chance to fight and determine their own future.”

The Secretary-General will arrive at Downing Street after visiting Ukrainian troops at Lydd Army Camp as part of Operation Interflex – the training programme for the Ukrainian Armed Forces pioneered by the UK.



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