UK to send warships and jets to NATO in 'major military offer' as Russian tensions rise

29 January 2022, 22:44 | Updated: 29 January 2022, 23:38

The UK is expected to make a major military offer to NATO
The UK is expected to make a major military offer to NATO. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The UK is expected to make a major military offer to NATO including jets, warships and military specialists, in order to protect the country's allies and strengthen Europe's borders in the face of rising tensions on the Russian border.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also preparing to stand up UK Armed Forces, as well as considering options to double troop numbers and send defensive weapons to Estonia.

"This package would send a clear message to the Kremlin – we will not tolerate their destabilising activity, and we will always stand with our NATO allies in the face Russian hostility," said Mr Johnson.

Read more: Boris to call Putin and visit Eastern Europe to 'ramp up deterrence' amid Ukraine crisis

Read more: Ukraine: UK in 'advanced' talks over sending hundreds of troops as Russian invasion threat looms

"If President Putin chooses a path of bloodshed and destruction, it will be a tragedy for Europe.

"Ukraine must be free to choose its own future.

"I have ordered our Armed Forces to prepare to deploy across Europe next week, ensuring we are able to support our NATO allies on land, at sea and in the air."

The Prime Minister is expected to speak to Putin this week and travel to the region in the coming days to "relay the message in person", No10 said, with UK officials set to travel to Brussels to finalise the details of the NATO offer.

Russia is not 'dumb enough' to take invade Ukraine and take such a 'massive risk'

Mr Johnson has issued a number of warnings to Russia in recent days, telling Putin on Tuesday that many of Russia's soldiers "won't come home" if they invade Ukraine.

There are already some British troops in the region, with more than 900 military personnel based in Estonia and more than 100 in Ukraine as part of "Operation Orbital", which trains Ukrainian troops.

No10 maintains that diplomatic discussions with Russia remain the first priority.

Read more: Russia's sons won't come home if they invade Ukraine: Boris issues stark warning to Putin

Read more: US paratroops on standby and UK braced for Russian cyber attacks as Ukraine tensions rise

Tensions in the region have escalated in recent weeks, with Russian troops amassing on the border leading to fears an invasion could be imminent.

Boris Johnson said such an invasion would be "painful, bloody and violent".