How British Forces Are Tackling Russian Aggression In Poland

In Eastern Europe operations continue to deter increased Russian aggression.

While the British government decides on its response to the alleged poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, in Eastern Europe operations continue to deter increased Russian aggression.

More than 150 British troops are currently deployed in Poland on Operation Cabrit.

It is part of a deployment to four countries surrounding Russia called 'enhanced forward presence'. 

We joined the Light Dragoons at Bemowo Piskie, where they have been carrying out a patrols competition in which 10 multinational teams are pitted against each other.

The exercise is designed to allow troops to prepare for a worst-case scenario with Russia, and is focused on helping Poland to defend itself.

NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission was established in Eastern Europe in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are part of this new frontline to stop any further Russian aggression or incursion; the British mission is to 'deter' but also 'reassure', as Major Dan Lenherr told us:

“Alongside us are other EFP battlegroups, and its outdone itself as a good NATO statement.

“We conduct regular training with building up the credibility of NATO forces here.

“There are plenty of opportunities for...development, which means we’re always ready."

Poland exercise AG

One hundred and fifty British soldiers are part of the Battlegroup Poland, from the Light Dragoons and their attachments.

They work alongside Polish Forces, Croatians, Romanians and US forces, who lead the 1,100 strong Battlegroup, where the soldiers rehearse for any situations which could occur.

This winter has seen only the second six-month deployment of Op Cabrit in Poland, the first full winter season they’ve spent there, they’ve been training in freezing conditions.

The soldiers have been trained by Royal Marine mountain leaders, as survival skills in these conditions can mean the difference between life and death, as Medical Officer Captain Kate Taylor told us:

“On exercise, if they don’t look after themselves, people can get hypothermia, becoming really unwell, and maybe even compromising their future military career.

“Them learning to look after themselves and each other prevents that kind of harm”.

It's not just on foot that the troops have battled the Polish winter threat. British Jackal and Coyote vehicles or American Strikers also have to tackle the terrain:

Gunner Ritchie White of the Royal Horse Artillery spoke about adapting to conditions in Poland:

"Back home you don’t get any conditions like this, here it gets to minus 20, which means the ground is frozen solid and you need to be far more careful in everything you do.

"You have to watch out a lot more, really!"

The British contribution to Enhanced Forward Presence may be much smaller here than in Estonia, where they lead a Battlegroup.

However, their deployment is just as important to reassure Poland that NATO forces have their back, and are here to protect their security.

Poland exercise AG