Forces Network, 18 April 2017
A number of UK troops have departed to Kosovo to join NATO’s force there. Nearly 30 soldiers are heading to the country to help “maintain safety, security and freedom” there. The deployment, which will is a year in length, follows a request from NATO for more support.
The UK personnel, who will be based in the Kosovo Force’s headquarters in Pristina, will offer support in intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“This deployment of troops demonstrates how we remain committed to supporting security and stability in the Western Balkans region.
“NATO remains a cornerstone of our defence and by defending the security of Europe we strengthen our security at home. This deployment follows support the UK provided in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2015 to the EU Force (EUFOR)”.
“As the Prime Minister has announced the UK will be increasing its engagement in the Western Balkans, including through our hosting of the 2018 Western Balkans Summit. The UK has more than 3,000 military personnel deployed on operations around the world, clearly demonstrating Britain’s global Defence footprint”.
“The UK continues to meet NATO’s target of spending 2% of GDP on Defence, backed by a Defence budget that will rise every year for the rest of this decade.”
The Kosovo Force began as peacekeeping operations in the late 1990s and is now contains around 4,200 troops who act as on of the main security providers in Kosovo.
Some 30 countries contribute to the force including the UK, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Poland and the US.