The British Army is to deploy 1,600 troops in Jordan to take part in war games which could be preparation for a potential ‘confrontation’ between Russia and NATO member countries in Eastern Europe, the Daily Telegraph has reported, citing sources.
Army sources told the paper that the exercise, which will simulate an Iraq invasion for the first time in over a decade, is not a prelude to sending ground troops to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL), rather Exercise Shamal Storm could be seen as a practice routine to fight off any potential Russian invasion of Ukraine or Eastern Europe.
“This isn’t a counter-Isil exercise. If anything, this is much more about us being prepared to join the US in Ukraine than it is in Syria,” a source said as cited by the Daily Telegraph, adding, “This is not the sort of kind of force you expect to roll into Aleppo to take on a bunch of jihadists.”
However, the British Ministry of Defence has dismissed claims made by the media that the upcoming drills are connected with preparations to go to war with Russia.
“It is not an exercise about war with Russia,” a Defence Ministry spokesman told RIA Novosti on Monday.
The drills are an annual event testing the army’s capability “to deploy and support an armored force of up to 30,000 troops anywhere in the world,” he said. London is not “preparing to go to war with Russia,” he concluded.
In January, around 80 military vehicles were sent from the UK, bound for the Jordanian port of Aqaba. More than 300 will be used in total. The exercise will be held in the southwestern desert area of the country, while troops from three UK divisions will be taking part.