Back off, Vlad! UK to stage mega-drills as TEN nations team up in defiance of Putin’s plot

Russia: Vladimir Putin 'is an opportunist' says Diggins

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Exercise Strike Warrior will take place from May 8-20 with the Firth of Forth hosting some of the activities. In total 31 warships, 150 aircraft and three submarines will be involved.

It comes just weeks after Mr Putin deployed thousands of troops to the Ukraine border, sparking fears of a potential Crimea-like invasion.

The Royal Navy will be joined by counterparts from the US, Australia, France, Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway and Poland.

The exercise will involve around 13,400 military personnel.

Training will also take place on land involving 1,500 ground troops.

According to The Scotsman the operation will involve counter mine operations around Loch Ewe and Campbeltown, live firing at Garvie Island and the Cape Wrath weapons range and small boat training in the Hebrides.

Military aircraft taking part will be based out of RAF Lossiemouth, Stornoway Airpor and Prestwick Airport.

Shortly after the exercise is completed the UK’s Carrier Strike Group, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, will embark on a 26,000 nautical mile tour.

The Royal Navy’s flagship will be accompanied by four other British warships, the American USS Sullivan and a Dutch frigate.

Two Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels will accompany the group providing support.

During its tour the Carrier Strike Group will visit 40 countries, more than 20 percent of the world’s total.

These will include key UK allies in Asia including India, Japan and South Korea.

The group will hold a joint exercise with forces from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore to mark the 50th anniversary of the Five Powers Defence Arrangements, which includes the UK.


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Commodore Steve Moorhouse, who will command the group, commented: “As our nation redefines its place in the world post-Brexit, it is the natural embodiment of the government’s ‘Global Britain’ agenda.

“And against a backdrop of growing instability and competition, it reflects the United Kingdom’s continued commitment to global security.”

However the deployment has caused concern in China with Beijing urging Britain to avoid the contested South China Sea.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post Song Zhongping, a former Chinese military instructor, delivered a stern warning.

Russia: Putin issues warning about ‘crossing red line’

He said: “China will welcome any friendly deployment, but will definitely hit back if Britain becomes provocative near Chinese territory.”

Concern over Russia’s intentions surged after the country massed more than 100,000 troops along the border with Ukraine, including in annexed Crimea, earlier this month.

Moscow claimed the build-up was in response to “threatening” actions from NATO.

After several tense weeks, and calls between Vladimir Putin and key western leaders, Russia began withdrawing some of its troops.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu claimed “snap checks” had been completed.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, welcomed the move to “de-escalate” the border.

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and supporter armed separatist uprisings in the country’s east.
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