Britain Puts Aircraft Carrier On Standby Preparing For Rise In Tensions With Russia
BRITAIN - Britain is putting the aircraft carrier HMS Wales, a command ship for the NATO Response Force (NRF) on standby to move within hours if tensions with Russia further increase.
Britain is offering a 'major military deployment' to NATO in order to strengthen Europe's borders in light of increasing aggression from Russia.
This comes after a British intelligence briefing this week where the Prime Minister asked defense and security chiefs to increase efforts in Europe.
The following is a statement put out by the UK:
"The Prime Minister remains seized of the importance of pursuing diplomatic efforts in tandem, and last week joined a call with President Biden, European leaders and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. In that call leaders agreed on the importance of international unity in the face of growing Russian hostility and stressed that diplomatic discussions with Russia remain the first priority.
The Defence Secretary is also expected to travel to meet with Allies this week in Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia on behalf of the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has also asked the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, to attend Cabinet this Tuesday to brief Ministers on the situation in Ukraine. The UK already has more than 900 British military personnel based in Estonia, more than 100 in Ukraine as part of Operation Orbital, and a Light Cavalry Squadron of around 150 people, is deployed to Poland
Op Orbital has trained 22,000 Ukrainian troops since 2015, and further military trainers were sent to the country earlier this month to support the training of Ukrainian forces to use 2000 missiles sent from the UK. Meanwhile, HMS Prince of Wales is in the High North leading the NATO Maritime High Readiness Force. It is on standby to move within hours should tensions rise further.”
The Royal Navy took command of NATO's Response Force from the French Marine Nationale January 1st, 2022. The Nato Response Force is a high readiness force that consists of land, air, sea and special forces units that are able to be deployed quickly for operations around the world.
A Royal Navy statement was released earlier in January that stated:
“The Royal Navy today took charge of NATO’s most important task force with a ceremony aboard aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales in Portsmouth. For the next 12 months it is responsible for leading the alliance’s Maritime High Readiness Force – an international task group formed to deal with major global events.
The most senior sea-going staff in the Royal Navy – Commander UK Strike Force, headed by Rear Admiral Mike Utley – takes charge of the force, with HMS Prince of Wales serving as NATO Command Ship, ready to deploy in support of NATO exercises and operations throughout the year. Those will include major workouts for British and allied forces in the Arctic at the end of the winter, Baltic in the summer, and an extensive deployment to the Mediterranean in the autumn.
To mark the formal transfer of command from the French Navy, the NATO flag was raised aboard the carrier today during a 30-minute ceremony – shifted to the carrier’s aft hangar rather than the flight deck due to thick fog in Portsmouth – attended by defence attachés and military representatives from across the alliance.”