The UK is leading the charge in protecting the EU’s territory And not being paid to do it.

Graham Charles Lear
6 min readMar 11, 2022


Naturally, the news right now is all about the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine. In all of this, the role of the United Kingdom — no longer an EU member — in protecting the EU and other European countries has not been promoted enough.

This report reveals how much the EU is benefiting — for free

The reality is that the UK is providing the significant military capability to protect the EU — on the ground, in the air, and by the sea — and yet is not being paid to do so.

UK defending the EU against Putin’s Russia

  1. How the UK is protecting the northern flank of the EU (this report)
  2. How the UK is protecting the eastern EU border down to Romania (to come)
  3. How the UK is protecting the EU’s southern flank in the Mediterranean (to come)

The facts: Brexit Britain is providing military might to protect the EU from Putin’s Russia

Now that Great Britain is independent of the EU (even if Northern Ireland is not), I show how the UK has stepped up to confront an increasing threat from Putin’s Russia and his evolving Soviet empire.

For security reasons I am not reporting all the information I have. The numbers are deliberately not complete and may not include all assets, as NATO and the MoD naturally do not wish the Russian military to be aware of their full capabilities. Unlike the BBC along with other British media outlets, and British journalists I will NOT be putting lives at risk.

The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Defence Secretary

“As well as giving direct military support to Ukraine, we continue to bolster our contribution towards NATO’s collective security.”

“The UK is doing its bit in giving military support and reassurance to its allies. We are currently supplying significant air power to NATO, including increased air patrols, with both Typhoons and F-35s for NATO air policing… and sent an additional 800 troops to Estonia.”

“It is important at this time that, in order to maximise our reassurance and resilience effect, we co-ordinate through NATO and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.”

- Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Defence Secretary, statement to the Commons, 9 Mar 2022

a) Northern flank of EU — UK planes, tanks, battleships, personnel deployed

UK-led NATO Battlegroup in Estonia

The UK is currently leading a NATO Battlegroup in Estonia, bordering Russia. This is a highly significant deployment, given the risk to the EU’s the Baltic States from Putin’s Russia. Estonia is an EU member country, but it is partly defended by UK troops on the ground and UK fighter planes in the air. It also benefits from the Royal Navy’s presence.

UK-led NATO Battlegroup in Estonia

1. Air Forces

On Tuesday (08 Mar 2022) British F-35B Lightning aircraft from RAF Marham arrived at Amari airbase in Estonia to carry out NATO enhanced Vigilance Activity.

This activity provides air policing of NATO airspace, further contributing to the security of Europe. Previously the airbase had been regularly used by RAF Typhoons on Operation Azotize to carry out the NATO Baltic Air Policing, safeguarding the integrity of airspace in the north-eastern flank of the EU.

Aside from their state-of-the-art stealth technology, these 5th-generation Lightning’s carry a variety of weapons and are capable of multiple simultaneous missions.

British Apache and Chinook helicopters are also involved in exercises in Estonia.

2. Ground Forces

  • United Kingdom — 1,608 troops
  • 1 x Armoured Infantry battalion with main battle tanks and armoured fighting vehicles
  • Self-propelled artillery, air defence assets and engineers
  • Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance group
  • Logistic support elements
  • France — 337 troops
  • 1 x Tank squadron with main battle tanks and armoured fighting vehicles
  • Supported by an engineer platoon and national support elements

3. Sea Forces

HMS Northumberland and HMS Richmond are now participating in the JEF, supported by seapower deployed for Exercise Cold Response. (See below.)

b) UK’s newest aircraft carrier deployed this week as NATO Command Ship

UK’s largest warship has left Portsmouth to lead a NATO task force to the Arctic for the biggest exercises in Norway for 30 years

On Monday the British aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales deployed in her role as NATO’s Command Ship for Exercise Cold Response, which will see 35,000 troops from 28 nations operate together in one of the world’s harshest environments.

HMS Prince of Wales is responsible for leading NATO’s Maritime High Readiness Force — an international task group formed to deal with major global events — and deploys for the first time in that role to Cold Response.

In this deployment, HMS Prince of Wales is joined by HMS Defender, HMS Albion, HMS Grimsby, RFA Tidesurge, and RFA Mounts Bay.

c) UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF)

The UK leads the JEF involving eight partner countries

The Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is a UK-led task group consisting of armed forces from the UK and eight partner nations: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. The latter country is in the EU but not in NATO. Nevertheless, it is participating in this UK-led force.

Britain’s contribution to the JEF includes personnel and equipment from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army, and Royal Air Force. The task group is designed to demonstrate the UK’s ability to project a highly effective maritime task force anywhere in the world, both individually and in partnership with other allied nations.

The daily news is naturally filled with Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine. The UK led the way in providing defensive military equipment to Ukraine — well before the major EU countries — and had previously supplied British troops to train the Ukrainian forces.

At every stage, the EU has been lagging behind, as it always does. According to the EU Commission’s latest figures, the average spending on defence in the EU is 1.3% of GDP. In the UK it’s 2.15%. I have always said that it should bew4%, but the UK has already been way ahead of the EU for decades.

I have highlighted some of the ways in which the United Kingdom has been defending the EU — without any payment and with no thanks from the EU. Individual countries are enormously grateful and have said so, but the EU’s Eurocracy remains silent……….as usual.

This report above is the first part in a series, only covering the EU’s northern flank. I hope to publish two further reports, demonstrating how the UK is defending the EU’s eastern and southern flanks in the coming days.

This is not something we have just done because of the invasion of Ukraine.

In October 2021 Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia broke ranks with EU policy and sent a delegation of foreign ministers to the UK. Liz Truss hosted them at her country residence, Chevening House, in Kent.

No Media outlet reported this event not even surprise, surprise, the BBC.

They were right not to trust the very organisation they had joined, the EU has been playing catchup with the UK since October last year and even now are quite toothless.

You can read the full report here

The UK and the three EU Baltic nations — joint communiqué

  • Building closer economic links between the UK and the Baltic region as a whole
  • The role of NATO as the cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security
  • The UK-led military presence within NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence and the Joint Expeditionary Force
  • Holding Russia and China to their international obligations
  • Building collective resilience against Russian “malign and hostile activity”
  • Stopping Belarus from importing migrants and deliberately sending them across EU borders

Sources: Ministry of Defence | Royal Air Force | The Army | Royal Navy | Hansard [UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office | EU Parliament | EU Commission ]



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.