Hundreds of British special force troops are ready to deploy to the Ukranian border at a moment’s notice, amid rising tensions and fears of a possible Russian invasion in the region, according to reports.
The UK’s Special Air Service and Parachute Regiment are prepared to enter the region with medics, engineers, signalers, and hundred of paratroopers, The Mirror reported.
“The high readiness element of the brigade was told it may need to deploy at very short notice, a source told The Mirror.
“Between 400 and 600 troops are ready. Their equipment is packed and they are ready to fly to Ukraine and either land or parachute in. They have trained for both eventualities.”
The military move comes after the European Union accused Belarus, which borders both the Ukraine and Poland, of manufacturing a humanitarian crisis by urging migrants to illegally cross into the EU via Poland.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, has denied any wrongdoing.
Hundreds of British paratroopers supported by artillery units could drop into the region within 36 hours of authorization, senior defense sources told the paper.
Britain’s highest ranking military officer, General Sir Nick Carter, told Times Radio in an interview expected to air Sunday, that Russia poses a significant and real risk to the West.
“We have to be careful that people don’t end up allowing the bellicose nature of some of our politics to finish in a position where escalation leads to miscalculation.”
Carter said that authoritarian rivals were willing to use any means necessary to destabilize their enemies — including migrants, surging gas prices, proxy forces or cyber attacks, adding that “traditional diplomatic tools and mechanisms” employed during the Cold War are no longer at its disposal.
“The character of warfare has changed,” he said in the interview.