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Ops 3. UK Special Forces Operations: Estonia

Britain’s Special Forces have been deployed operationally in at least 19 overseas countries in the past decade, new analysis reveals, raising questions over the degree of transparency and democratic consent these shadowy units operate under. The countries where there have been active operations are: Algeria, Estonia, France, Iran/Oman (Strait of Hormuz), Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mediterranean (Cyprus), Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

This section outlines the extent of UKSF’s operations in Estonia.


November, 2018: Troops from 21 and 23 SAS, the elite regiment’s two reserve battalions, were mobilised for operations on the Estonian border with Russia.

They are both part of the 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade, and were deployed in Estonia between November 2018 and April 2019. Whilst this is technically an infantry brigade, they are part of the UKSF group.

The part-time troops have been trained by serving members of the SAS and must pass an ‘extensive’ selection process.

One source told The Star: “The SAS reservists are probably the best in the British Army, at least as good as regular infantry troops. They are especially trained in long range surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The regular SAS troops are busy in Iraq and Afghanistan so this highly important operation was passed on to the SAS reservists.

“They are very capable troops and have a number of weapons at their disposal along with and including snipers.”

The deployment was part of Operation Cabrit, where British troops, Apache attack helicopters and tanks are part of what is called an Enhanced Forward Presence.

The mission was designed to prevent incursions into Europe by President Putin. Nato commanders believe he may try to annex the Russian-speaking part of Estonia. (Star)