1,600 British troops assembled near Russia ready to face Putins army

Around 1,600 British troops are currently in Estonia and are prepared to face down the Russian army.

The soldiers are there as part of the NATO battle group deployed to protect the Baltic country in case of a Russian invasion.

Lieutenant Colonel Ru Streatfeild, who commands the NATO battle group, said his troops are "100%" ready if Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Estonia, adding “our soldiers are immensely proud to be here”.

But it is an “immense responsibility”, he said, adding that he knows his battle plan in the event of a Russian attack.

Estonian officials told the Daily Express they “must assume” Vladimir Putin will one day invade their country.

Asked if NATO forces were prepared in the event of a Russian invasion, Lt Col Streatfeild said: “100%. There is swagger. They are on their game and they are ready. Their bags are packed.

“It is not that people revel in this. But soldiers want to do a job. They want to put their tradecraft into practice. If you go around now and speak to soldiers, they are buzzing.

“This is what they join the Army to do. Our soldiers are immensely proud to be here. It is an immense privilege. But it is also an immense responsibility.”

Describing his mission, the British commander said: “It is to defend. It is a really easy word to say, but really complex job to do.”

The battle group commander said he “absolutely” knows how he would counter a Russian invasion, adding: “We are getting to know this terrain really well.

“The training area and the ground we would be defending on has a lot of complexity. But it is a complexity we can use to our advantage. And for the Estonians, this is their terrain.

“They’ve defended it before and they will defend it again. The terrain is very, very boggy.”

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Families of British troops in the battleground were initially quite nervous about the deployment.

But the NATO commander revealed: “Some of the families took time to understand our role because deterrence is such a critical part of not just security here in Estonia but is part of security of Western liberal values and all sorts of stuff that we take for granted.

“But once they understood that being here, as part of NATO is contributing towards that, I think people were quite settled.

“I have a unit welfare officer who is working very hard at the moment, keeping all the families together.

“I think there is concern, but nowadays, it is so easy to stay in contact with families. So, once they know they are out here and established and enter a rhythm, I think a lot of the anxiety is settled.

“We are literally under NATO command right now. There are NATO plans in place, and whatever orders we are given under a NATO structure, we will execute them.”

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