Britain on Monday announced major joint manoeuvres in Poland in October, part of a string of NATO exercises in the region aimed at reassuring eastern Europe members jittery over a resurgent Russia.

“I can announce today exercise Black Eagle, which will be a significant Polish and UK armoured exercise with over 350 British armoured and other vehicles and some 1,350 British personnel,” British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said in Warsaw.

The deployment will be the “largest British contribution to exercises in eastern Europe since 2008,” he said at a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Poland’s foreign and defence ministers.

Ex-communist NATO members have asked the alliance for permanent boots on the ground in the region amid the sharp escalation of fighting between Kiev government troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

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