British Prime Minister Theresa May says that as Britain prepares for Brexit, the UK remains “unconditionally committed” to maintaining security cooperation with the European Union in the face of Russian “aggression.”
During a joint visit to a military base in Estonia on Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron, May said threats from Russia to terrorism and cyber attacks made security in the EU increasingly vital.
“When a nation like Russia deliberately violates the rules-based international order that we have worked so hard to create, we must come together with our allies to defend that international system,” May told British troops based in Tapa, Estonia, as part of NATO’s presence in eastern Europe.
“Russia’s continued aggression represents a growing danger to our friends here in Estonia as well as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and our response must be clear and unequivocal,” she said on the sidelines of a EU summit in Tallinn, Estonia.
“While we are leaving the European Union, as I have said many times, we are not leaving Europe so the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security.”
The UK and other members of NATO have been deploying weapons and troops on Russia’s western borders since 2014, when the strategic peninsula of Crimea joined Russia after a referendum.
The United States and its NATO allies recently completed positioning about 4,500 soldiers in the three Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as Poland.
Moscow has repeatedly criticized NATO’s military build-up in Eastern Europe, saying it undermines regional security.
Russia has beefed up its southwestern military capacity, deploying nuclear-capable missiles to its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad bordering Poland and Lithuania.