Prime Minister will travel to Brussels and Warsaw today for talks with NATO Secretary General and Polish leaders
Foreign Secretary and Defense Secretary visit Moscow as UK leads international de-escalation efforts
Prime Minister announces 1,000 additional British soldiers will be ready to support NATO and its allies in the event of a humanitarian crisis
The Prime Minister will fly to Brussels and Warsaw today (10 February 2022) as he calls on international partners to show solidarity with NATO allies bearing the brunt of Russian aggression.
The Prime Minister will insist to the allies that they must not compromise on the fundamental principles of NATO. This includes the inviolability of national sovereignty, the right of any European democracy to aspire to NATO membership, and NATO’s obligation to protect the security of its member states.
The UK is ready to work for a diplomatic route and we believe this can be achieved. But it can only be based on existing international agreements and on the fundamental principles of a whole and free Europe.
The UK has been at the forefront of efforts to curb Russian hostility towards its neighbours. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister hosted Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė in Downing Street to discuss the need for NATO unity in the face of aggression.
In recent days, he has also reiterated this message to the leaders of Germany, France and the Netherlands. In total, over the past fortnight, British ministers have spoken to more than a third of NATO member states about the situation.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs is in Moscow today and the Secretary of Defense will travel there tomorrow for talks with their counterparts. They will stress that the only way forward is for Russia to cease its aggressive hybrid warfare campaign and engage in meaningful talks.
The Prime Minister said:
When NATO was founded, the allies made a historic commitment to safeguard the freedom of each member state. The UK remains steadfast in its commitment to European security.
What we need to see is real diplomacy, not coercive diplomacy. As an alliance, we must draw lines in the snow and make it clear that there are principles on which we will not compromise. This includes the security of every NATO ally and the right of every European democracy to aspire to NATO membership.
While in Brussels, the Prime Minister and NATO Secretary General will discuss the UK’s offer to bolster the alliance’s defences. This offer includes doubling the number of British troops in Estonia in support of NATO’s enhanced forward presence, deploying more RAF jets to create a squadron in southern Europe and sailing both HMS TRENT and a Type 45 destroyer to the eastern Mediterranean to help protect the seas. and the sky in the southeast corner of NATO.
The UK is also one of the first countries to send support to Poland, demonstrating international unity on NATO’s eastern flank. Earlier this week we announced that up to 350 members of 45 Commando would be deployed to Poland and today the Prime Minister announced that 1,000 additional British soldiers would be ready in the UK to support a humanitarian response in the region if needed.
In December, the UK came to the aid of Poland and Lithuania after asking for help in dealing with a Russian-organised migration crisis on their borders with Belarus. Any further Russian incursion into Ukraine would be a humanitarian catastrophe that would likely create a massive forced displacement of people across the European border, which would particularly affect countries like Poland and Lithuania.
45 Commando personnel already deployed in Poland and the Royal Welsh Battle Group which will arrive in Estonia in the coming weeks will help Poland and other Eastern European countries deal with the impact of any Russian aggression. . Their activities will include joint training, the conduct of exercises and support for contingency planning. These efforts will be supported by the troops made available today if needed.