Ukraine crisis: Army ‘working on plans for huge UK-US parachute drop’ into east Europe – World News


It comes amid fears Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine, with 126,000 on the country’s eastern flank and 80,000 Moscow and Belarus soldiers to the north

Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division secure equipment aboard a C-17 transport plane for deployment to Eastern Europe amid escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia
Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division secure equipment aboard a C-17 transport plane for deployment to Eastern Europe amid escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia

Hundreds of British and US Paratroopers are being prepared to jump into eastern Europe in the biggest joint air assault exercise of its kind in decades.

It comes as Defense Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed 350 more troops will deploy to Poland to bolster security against Russian aggression in the region.

The Mirror can reveal defense chiefs are thrashing out plans for a dramatic UK-US parachute jump into Poland as a massive show of force against Moscow.

There are growing fears Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine, with 126,000 of Moscow’s forces on the country’s eastern flank and 80,000 Moscow and Belarus soldiers to the north.

UK military chiefs at Permanent Joint HQ in Middlesex have been going over plans to project British military strength as a gesture of solidarity with Ukrainian forces.

One plan under discussion is to parachute members of 2 Para and 82nd Airborne into Poland as a dramatic signal of defiance towards Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian forces have been gathering in large numbers at the Ukraine border
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Image:

Reuters)

On Monday Mr Wallace yesterday(MON) announced another 350 soldiers will be sent to Poland.

Speaking in London alongside his Polish counterpart Mariusz Blaszczak, the Army officer said “In that spirit of solidarity and helping share each other’s challenges of resiliences we will add to those 100 Royal Engineers by sending a further 350 British troops to Poland in a bilateral deployment to show that we can work together and send a strong signal that Britain and Poland stand side by side.”

Two senior defense sources have told the Mirror the troops are “highly likely” to be paratroopers and that many of them will jump into Poland from C-130 troops carrier warplanes.

One insider said: “This has not been absolutely finalized but these troops will very likely be from 16 Air Assault Brigade and they will very likely jump in.”

Sources say it is many years since American and British troops parachuted together into eastern Europe, although they have done it more recently in the States.

More than 120 members of 2 Para’s B Company are already in Estonia on winter warfare exercises with NATO units including soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment.

It is believed members of 2 Para will be asked to join US airborne troops in demonstrating what the Army calls a Joint Forcible Entry, dropping dramatically into Poland.

They are part of 16 Air Assault Brigade – the UK’s high readiness troops mostly made up of Paratroopers, with signallers, medics and engineers attached.

UK military chiefs have been going over plans to project British military strength
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Image:

REUTERS)

After jointly parachuting into Poland they would then launch a 14-day wargaming exercise – as a huge two-finger gesture to the Kremlin, whose troops are currently exercising in Belarus.

Sources say the Parachute Regiment is “extremely keen” to perform the drop with the Americans but the MoD and Number Ten are concerned it may be over-aggressive.

Senior Parachute Regiment officers have already put proposals forward to PJHQ and the plans are being considered.

One source told the Daily Mirror: “The plan is to jump with the 82nd Airborne who have already arrived, but there is concern and confusion at senior level that any drop will be seen as aggressive and we are waiting for a decision.”

The Paras are listed as the UK’s Global Response Force, are already part of an operational readiness capability which was formed with US forces in 2015.

More than 200 British Paras dropped into Ukraine in September 2020, in a joint exercise with local forces and witnessed by the Daily Mirror.

They parachuted last year into Jordan with local forces, practicing how to battle ISIS and al-Qaeda in counter-terror strikes – an exercise watched by fascinated Russian embassy defense staff.

The US has sent 2,000 airborne troops to Poland as the crisis escalates
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Image:

US ARMY/AFP via Getty Images)

America has sent 2,000 airborne troops into Poland because of the escalating Ukraine crisis and the UK is sending more troops into Estonia.

Around 100 other UK troops are training Ukraine’s forces in how to fire NLAW anti-tank weapons which have been provided by the UK – with another 100 preparing for an evacuation.

And scores of Special Forces Support Group and SAS troops are in Ukraine secretly preparing to help stranded Brits evacuate by land and air if war breaks out.

A Ministry of Defense spokesperson said: “There are currently no plans for 16 Air Assault Brigade to conduct a jump into Eastern Europe.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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