The statement made by Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for Defence, in the House of Commons on 9 December 2021.
I am today informing the House of the deployment of UK military personnel to Poland to provide assistance to the Polish armed forces.
For a number of months Poland, along with their Baltic neighbours Latvia and Lithuania, have been under significant pressure from irregular migration originating across their border with Belarus, and facilitated by the Lukashenko regime. Poland has every right to protect its borders within international law in the face of an unprecedented and volatile situation. The UK is committed to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our close allies as part of our commitment to European security.
For this reason, the UK is deploying a squadron of Royal Engineers, along with associated support elements, to Poland in order to support Polish troops with specific engineering tasks. This follows the deployment on 11 November 2021 of an initial engineer reconnaissance element. This is not a combat deployment.
This engineer squadron will be in addition to, but separate from, the 150 UK personnel based in Poland since 2017 as part of the US-led multinational battlegroup under NATO’s enhanced forward presence. The engineering personnel will be deploying on a bilateral basis, as UK national activity in support of a close ally. They are not deploying as part of a NATO response or operation and will not be under NATO command or control. The engineers are planned to be deployed until the end of April 2022.