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British armed forces urgently sent to Russia's doorstep as walls close on Putin


Defence Minister James Heappey confirmed this afternoon that further British armed forces are being deployed to Estonia “earlier than planned”, in order to double up the UK presence there. The troops will be stationed there “indefinitely” to “reassure one of our closest NATO allies”.

In response to an Urgent Question, Mr Heappey said: “In addition to the Royal Tank Regiment battle group that has been in place in Estonia for the last six months, the Royal Welsh battlegroup will be arriving in Estonia earlier than planned to double up our force levels and those doubled-up force levels remain indefinitely.

“They will be augmented by the headquarters of 12 Mechanised Brigade, meaning that the United Kingdom will have an armoured brigade in Estonia reassuring one of our closest Nato allies.”

However, Mr Heappey warned against “unnecessarily” escalating the conflict saying: “We must all in this House be clear that British and Nato troops should not, must not, play an active role in Ukraine.”

He added: “We must all be clear what the risk of miscalculation could be and how existential that could very quickly become if people miscalculate and things escalate unnecessarily.”

But he said that the Government plans to “explore all that we can do to support the Ukrainians themselves over the next few days.”

Putin sent shockwaves through the world after he launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine yesterday.

Russian forces entered the country through Belarus, Crimea and Russian-backed separatist regions.

While troops are being sent to support Estonia, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that British troops will not be sent to fight directly against Russia, as such action would trigger a European war.

READ MORE: Putin’s limp invasion MOCKED by MoD as new intelligence shames Russia

The UK has excluded major Russian banks from the country’s financial system, while oligarchs have been hit with asset freezes and travel bans.

Russia’s national airline Aeroflot will also be banned from landing in the UK.

Mr Johnson told the House of Commons that the UK’s measures are “the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen”.

The UK Government is also pushing for Russia to be excluded from the Swift international payment system.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Wallace said: “We would like to go further, we would like to do the SWIFT system, that is the financial system that allows Russians to move money around the world, to receive payments for its gas.

“But like so many things, these are international organisations and if not every country wants them to be thrown out of the SWIFT system it becomes difficult.”

He added: “We want it switched off. Other countries do not.

“We only have so many options.

“We are going to work all day to try and get it (switched off for Russia).”

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