NATO

UK Shows 'Unwavering Commitment' To Western Balkans With Troops Extension

British troops will continue to contribute to the NATO mission in Kosovo until 2023.

The UK has underlined its commitment to the Western Balkans and the NATO mission in Kosovo, continuing to contribute to the mission until at least 2023.

Britain has been part of the NATO mission in Kosovo (KFOR) for two decades, helping to maintain peace and stability as part of a larger ongoing mission to secure the wider region.

UK forces have worked to enhance KFOR's Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability, significantly increasing the mission commanders' situational awareness.

KFOR remains one of the main security providers in Kosovo, with international troops contributed by 30 nations including Italy, Turkey, Poland, the US and the UK.

Part of the UK's contribution is a ready-to-deploy battalion-sized Strategic Reserved Force based in the UK.

KFOR has been keeping the peace in Kosovo for two decades (Picture: NATO TV).

Speaking about the announcement, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the extension of the UK's contribution to the mission underlined "our unwavering commitment to the Western Balkans region".

"NATO is the bedrock of UK security and it is because our Armed Forces step forward to protect peace alongside our partners that it remains so," he said.

"The extension of our commitment to KFOR underlines our unwavering commitment to the Western Balkans region, where NATO has helped to bring stability for over two decades."

The UK has been key to the UN-mandated NATO force's efforts there, first entering Kosovo in 1999 as part of the peacekeeping coalition following the conflict of the 1990s.

In April, reconnaissance troops from the British Army were awarded NATO medals following a mission in the Western Balkans.

About 30 Royal Lancers returned home to Catterick Garrison after six months in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, supported by elements of the Intelligence Corps.

Cover image: KFOR vehicle in Kosovo (Picture: NATO TV).