Exclusive: How Brexit Britain is defending the EU – and not being paid for it

The UK is leading the charge in protecting the EU’s territory

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2022

Facts4EU.Org reveals some of the forces deployed by the UK across the EU

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.

In this first of three reports, Facts4EU.Org tries to put this right.

Facts4EU.Org’s reports reveal how much the EU is benefiting – for free

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

In today’s report Facts4EU.Org looks at the EU’s northern flank.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

UK defending the EU against Putin’s Russia – a Facts4EU.Org series

  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), we show how the UK has stepped up to confront an increasing threat from Putin’s Russia and his evolving Soviet empire.

Caveat: For security reasons Facts4EU.Org is not reporting all the information we 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.

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 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.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

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.

© MoD 2022

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 Lightnings 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

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

© MoD 2022

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

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

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 particpating 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 spend on defence in the EU is 1.3% of GDP. In the UK it's 2.15%. For years Facts4EU.Org has argued for an increase to 4%, but the UK has already been way ahead of the EU for decades.

In Facts4EU.Org’s report today, however, we 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.

Our report above is the first part in a series, only covering the EU's northern flank. We hope to publish two further reports, demonstrating how the UK is defending the EU’s eastern and southern flanks, but we really need readers’ help as we are so short of funds. Can you help?

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[ Sources: Ministry of Defence | Royal Air Force | The Army | Royal Navy | Hansard ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, 10 Mar 2022

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