Troops from Wiltshire arrived in Estonia today to bolster the NATO stand against President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tanks and other army hardware were seen arriving as soldiers from three Wiltshire-based regiments doubled – to 850 - the British battle group ready to help defy the Russians.

The defence secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons that the people of Wiltshire and the families of the deployed troops “should be enormously proud” – but he warned that they would not know when their loved ones would be coming home again.

Devizes MP Danny Kruger, whose constituency includes Tidworth where many of the spearhead group troops are based, told the Commons that he was proud to represent them.

Mr Kruger said: “The tyrant Putin is getting what he said he feared, a thicker and thicker line of defence around the NATO alliance. I’m very pleased that we are doubling our commitment to Estonia, principally through the Royal Welsh Battle Group.”

He added: “I’m proud that many of those units are based in my constituency, including the Royal Artillery, the Royal Engineers and the Royal Tank Regiment.”

Mr Kruger asked the minister to join him in “honouring those troops and their families for the sacrifice they are making.”

The Defence Secretary responded: “His constituents and the service people that live in his constituency should be enormously proud of what the members of 12 Brigade are doing in Estonia today.”

He added: “I pay tribute to the speed at which the Royal Welsh have gone from being in a training cycle in Germany to driving north into Estonia, but so too to the many families of the Royal Tank Regiment who will have been expecting their loved ones home in the next couple of weeks – and now don’t know when they’ll be coming home because the extension of their tour is indefinite.”

The army reported on February 18 that a convoy of British troops and armoured vehicles of the Royal Welsh Battlegroup was heading to Estonia as part of the UK's contribution to strengthen NATO's uplift to Eastern Europe.

An army spokesman said: “The UK is doubling the number of personnel in Estonia and sending additional equipment, including tanks and armoured fighting vehicles. Troops and equipment have begun the move to Estonia.

“The Royal Welsh Battlegroup, which includes armoured vehicles and personnel from the Royal Engineers, Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps and Royal Artillery, will leave Sennelager in Germany and bases in the UK today, and begin to arrive in Estonia during the coming weeks.

“Part of Operation Iron Surge has seen a convoy of Warrior infantry fighting vehicles and Challenger 2 main battle tanks leaving Sennelager. They are being moved by heavy equipment transports from 19 Tank Transporter Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps.”

The additional British troops and military equipment started to arrive in Estonia today (Friday, February 25), the Ministry of Defence confirmed.