British troops in 'high-readiness exercise' with Finnish and US forces

·2-min read

British troops have taken part in a joint "high-readiness exercise" alongside Finnish forces, as Finland moves closer to joining NATO.

About 150 British Army and Royal Air force personnel joined US and Finnish counterparts in the four-day Exercise Vigilant Fox, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

The joint exercise comes after NATO signed an accession protocol with Finland to join the military alliance earlier this month, which began the ratification process for members.

Finland and Sweden both confirmed their intention to join NATO following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this month it emerged that the RAF has sent four Typhoons and two F-35Bs to Finland and Sweden for joint training exercises.

Finland signed a mutual security assurance declaration with the UK in May, and is also a member of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a coalition of 10 nations.

The MoD said British troops based in Estonia as part of the British Army's Project Unified Stance were flown into Finland in Royal Air Force Chinook helicopters as part of the exercise.

Defence minister James Heappey said: "Exercise Vigilant Fox has demonstrated the strength and interoperability of our armed forces with our US and Finnish allies and reaffirms our commitment to the defence and security of the Baltic Sea region."

Wing Commander Stephen Boyle, the UK defence attaché in Helsinki, said: "Our soldiers, sailors and aviators have received a warm welcome in Finland over the last few months.

"Exercise Vigilant Fox is the latest activity in an ongoing series of events across the domains. As Finland moves towards full NATO Membership, we will continue to seek opportunities like this to show solidarity with Finland, learn from each other and improve our ability to operate together."

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