UK special forces are leading a nine-country Joint Expeditionary Force, aimed at curbing Moscow’s advances, alongside the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The new joint military force, which involves around 3,850 British soldiers, comes as tensions grow between Russia and western nations. During the G20 summit in Japan last month, Theresa May told Putin to cease Moscow’s “irresponsible and destabilising” meddling in world affairs.
New photos show how specialist commandos, with the help of Estonian counterparts, perform an amphibious landing from a helicopter and make attack formations on sand.
RAF Typhoon jets have also been sent to intercept Russian fighter jets in recent weeks, as they flew close to Estonian air space.
UK commandos were pictured brandishing grenade machine guns and 0.5 caliber automatic weapons as they underwent target practice from specially made dug outs in the region.
Royal Marine Wildcat helicopters were also seen using thermal imagery cameras to scan for enemy units, while Army Air Corps Apache craft were on stand-by to offer further air support.
Offshore Raiding Craft, capable of speeds of up to 40 knots, took groups of commandos to shore before bringing back the heavy kit on a large vessel.
Speaking of the show of military might, Major Sam Hughes of X-Ray Company, 45 Commando, said: “We’re no longer in the game of opposed landings.
“We now have the ability to land at a time and place of our choosing before hitting the enemy where they least expect it.
“In this scenario, the Estonians had secured the beach and we moved in to reinforce their position.”
The recent display, which ends in August, was to demonstrate how UK forces would be deployed in the region in the event of a crisis.
Group commander Commodore James Parkin said the exercises were a continuation of long-standing co-operation with Estonia in conflicts around the world.
Commodore Parkin said: “This exercise demonstrates our continuing commitment to Estonia and the security of the Baltic Sea Region.
“The Royal Navy and Royal Marines – and British Armed Forces more generally – have a long and deep relationship with the Estonian Defence Forces.
“We are partners in the Joint Expeditionary Force and allies in NATO, the Royal Marines, along with other British troops, fought alongside Estonian soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Royal Navy fought to assist Estonia in winning its independence 100 years ago.”