1st Battalion The Royal Welsh have taken over from 5th Battalion The Rifles in Estonia

British soldiers from 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh have arrived in Estonia, starting their stint leading the multinational Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup.

Taking over from 5th Battalion The Rifles, which has been in the country since March, 800 soldiers from the Royal Welsh battlegroup arrived this week.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

“Nobody should be in any doubt of our unwavering commitment to the security of Europe through NATO in the face of Russian belligerence.

“In the face of intensifying threats, the UK has stepped up across Europe, with soldiers, tanks and Typhoons deployed from Estonia to Romania.

“Our enhanced Forward Presence is a strategic tripwire that we will maintain on an enduring footing.”

British military involved in op Spring Storm
British troops involved in Estonia's Op Spring Storm earlier this year

The Royal Welsh will continue to be supported by elements from King’s Royal Hussars, the Royal Engineers, the Royal Artillery plus French and Danish soldiers.

Their arrival to the Tapa military base renews the UK’s commitment to NATO allies, and aims to provide reassurance in the face of any potential aggression.

They will be based just 80 miles away from the Estonia-Russian border in Narva.

Narva Russia/Estonia border
The border between Estonia and Russia in Narva has been described as NATO's most sensitive border

Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Owain Luke said:

"Having completed a demanding period of training in the UK and Canada earlier this year, we are delighted to have finally arrived in Estonia.

"We now look forward to training and operating with the 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade and our French and Danish allies as part of NATO’s wider defensive posture across the Baltic states and Poland."

The Royal Welsh’s arrival coincides with the second visit from four RAF Typhoons to Estonia. They are tasked with working and training with UK and NATO personnel.

The UK’s Estonian based battlegroup makes up part of a wider NATO enhanced Forward Presence across the Baltic State and Poland.

Other battlegroups are led by Canada in Latvia, the US in Poland and Germany in Lithuania.

A further 150 British soldiers joined US troops in Poland, while further RAF Typhoons recently completed a four-month deployment in Romania, patrolling the Black sea skies.

Last March, Forces News visited Estonia to find out more about its relationship with Russia: 

Cover picture courtesy of the British Army/Twitter.