Britain to send troops for war games in Poland

by Reuters
Monday, 28 July 2014 18:21 GMT

WARSAW, July 28 (Reuters) - Britain will send 1,350 military personnel and more than 350 vehicles to Poland for a NATO exercise aimed at reassuring allies in eastern Europe worried that, after Ukraine, they could be the next target of Russian intervention, it said on Monday.

The British contribution to the wargames in October, called "Exercise Black Eagle," was announced during a visit to the Polish capital by British foreign minister Philip Hammond and defence minister Michael Fallon.

Britain's defence ministry said the contingent would be the largest it has sent to the region in six years.

The NATO alliance, with the U.S. military in the forefront, has stepped up exercises in eastern Europe since Russia earlier this year annexed Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.

Poland has said it wants the alliance to permanently station troops in the region as a guarantee against Russian intervention. But most NATO members are reluctant because of the cost and the risk of further antagonising the Kremlin.

The question of NATO's presence in eastern Europe is likely to be discussed at an alliance summit in Newport, Wales, scheduled to take place in early September. (Reporting by Wiktor Szary; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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