The UK is considering deploying Eurofighter Typhoon fighters and Royal Navy warships to protect southeastern Europe and reinforce the British battlegroup in Estonia, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“We are considering deploying RAF Typhoon fighters and Royal Navy warships to protect southeastern Europe,” Johnson wrote to The Times on Monday.
The West will do more to help Ukraine defend itself, Johnson added, noting that the UK is preparing to reinforce the British-led Nato battlegroup in Estonia.
“Nato allies are agreed that we are willing to send more forces to guarantee the security of our allies on the eastern flank. The foreign ministers of Latvia and Estonia have called for extra support due to the Russian military build-up in Belarus. We stand ready to provide it,” Johnson said.
Russia has also expressed concerns over NATO military activity near its borders and ongoing military support of Ukraine, including an increase in the number of Western instructors in the breakaway Donbas region.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow is not excluding that the “hysteria” around Ukraine fueled by the West is aimed at concealing Kiev’s plans to sabotage the Minsk Agreements on Donbas.
Earlier, UK minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverlyhad said that Russia can be an important player in the international arena without having to resort to provocative actions.
On Wednesday, a Royal Air Force spokesman confirmed to Sputnik that UK fighter jets had intercepted and escorted four Russian Tu-95 bombers passing through the country’s zone of interest. Later on, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that two Russian Tu-95 bombers on a scheduled flight over neutral waters in the Arctic and North Atlantic were escorted by Eurofighter Typhoon fighters of the British air force.
“I can’t work out what Russia hopes to achieve by these series of quite provocative, or indeed very provocative, actions. We need them to understand that they can be an important significant player in the world stage without the kind of military aggression that we´re seeing, or this military posturing we´re seeing,” Cleverly told Sky News broadcaster when asked about Russian aircraft “buzzing” at the UK’s airspace.
Over the past few months, Western countries and Ukraine have repeatedly accused Russia of acting aggressively and massing troops near the Ukrainian border in preparation for the attack on the neighboring country. Russia has rejected the claims that it was preparing an attack and noted that it had the right to move troops anywhere it needed them within its territory.
Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said on Monday that he could not rule out a provocation on part of Ukraine. Earlier in January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the military maneuvers near Russia’s borders were increasingly provocative.
- Via Sputnik News Agency
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