David Cameron will tell world leaders Britain remains a global force despite voting for Brexit at a Nato summit today.
The Prime Minister will pledge 650 more British troops to support Nato missions in Eastern Europe in a bid to help thwart Russian aggression.
He will also confirm that the UK’s commitment to spending 2% of its national income on defence at today’s Warsaw summit.
David Cameron will tell world leaders Britain remains a global force despite voting for Brexit at a Nato summit today. Above, he is pictured today, centre, along with the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (top left), European Council president Donald Tusk (top right), Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko (middle left) and Barack Obama (bottom right) talking to Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (bottom row, left)
The Prime Minister will pledge 650 more British troops to support Nato missions in Eastern Europe in a bid to help thwart Russian aggression
Speaking ahead of the summit, Mr Cameron said last night: ‘This summit is a chance for us to reiterate our strong support for Ukraine and our other Eastern allies to deter Russian aggression.
‘Actions speak louder than words and the UK is proud to be taking the lead role, deploying troops across Eastern Europe.
‘It is yet another example of the UK leading in NATO, as underlined by our pledge to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence for the rest of this decade.’
Mr Cameron will add that by also committing 3,000 troops and continued Baltic air patrols through next year, ‘Britain is clearly demonstrating its crucial contribution to NATO’.
In a clear warning to whoever succeeds Mr Cameron as Prime Minister, a government official insisted there would be ‘no back sliding’ on the UK’s Nato contributions.
The summit – which starts in Poland today – will focus on building up defences on Europe’s eastern flank.
Britain is also to take over the leadership of the Nato Very High Readiness Joint Task (VJTF) from next year with 3,000 troops in the UK and Germany on standby to move with as little as five days’ notice.
The 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade will provide the land headquarters and there will be an armoured infantry battle group from the 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment – with Challenger 2 tanks and Warrior armoured fighting vehicles – and a light infantry battle group from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.
‘This will be a summit where you will see Britain assert itself as one of the most crucial elements in the Nato alliance,’ one official said.
David Cameron (pictured arriving in Warsaw, Poland earlier today) will tell world leaders Britain remains a global force despite voting for Brexit at the Nato summit today
David Cameron (left) will confirm that the UK’s commitment to spending 2% of its national income on defence at today’s Warsaw summit, where he will meet world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right)
David Cameron is attending the Nato summit along with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as they attempt to reassure world leaders – including US President Barack Obama (pictured at the Warsaw summit this morning) of Britain’s commitment to international military cooperation despite last month’s Brexit vote
The Prime Minister (pictured arriving in Warsaw today) is set to announce the lifting on the ban at the Nato summit in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, where he and other Cabinet ministers are meeting world leaders over the weekend
‘Not only are we going to be steadfast in our support of Nato, but we are prepared to back that up with boots on the ground.’
Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, first raised the prospect of hundreds more troops to eastern Europe last month.
He echoed the vow to protect defence spending at an air power conference at the RUSI think tank yesterday.
He said: ‘We will be making clear Britain’s contribution to the reassurance measures that Nato is now planning on the eastern flank.
‘We will be deploying more troops on the eastern flank alongisde the RAF typhoons that are already in the skies above the Baltic and we will be leading the very high readiness task force, we take over next year.
‘We will continue to be playing a leading role in Nato, particularly helping to deter Russian aggression.’
Mr Fallon also warned that Russia had tried to ‘change borders by force. We’ve seen heightened exercises and deployments of aircraft outside our airspace and increased submarine activity and it was therefore essential that we restored the maritime patrol aircraft capability that failed to materialise when the coalition government took office.’
Britain is also to take over the leadership of the Nato Very High Readiness Joint Task (VJTF) from next year with 3,000 troops in the UK and Germany on standby to move with as little as five days’ notice
Michael Fallon: ‘We will continue to be playing a leading role in Nato, particularly helping to deter Russian aggression’
Leaders including President Obama will also discuss extending Nato’s reach into Iraq and Afghanistan.
It will also be Mr Cameron’s first foreign mission since the EU referendum vote.
His pledge to station extra troops in Eastern Europe, which comes on top of 3000 British troops in a rapid reaction force, is as much an attempt to shore up American concerns that the UK has exited the world stage as it is to dampen Soviet ambitions.
This week, Poland’s Defence Minister said he hoped Britain would compensate for quitting the European Union by strengthening its role in NATO.
The impact on EU citizens of Brexit and future relations with Europe are also likely to come up at the summit when Mr Cameron is met by the Polish president, Andrzej Duda.
He will have a working dinner with him in the presidential palace, after high level meetings with other world leaders today.
Mr Cameron is also expected to confirm that Britain will halt the withdrawal of soldiers from Afghanistan.
He is expected to say the 500-strong training mission will be extended for at least another year.
There is also set to be an extra deployment of over 100 force protection personnel in an admission the country is descending into further chaos and in a sign the UK pulled out too soon.