Boris visits RAF Waddington – the main operating base for UK airborne intelligence and surveillance

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is greeted by a pilot while on a visit to RAF Waddington. RAF Waddington. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has visited RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire today.

RAF Waddington is the the hub of UK intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance and the main operating base for airborne intelligence aircraft and systems.

The Prime Minister said the situation along Ukraine’s border with Russia remains “very grim” as he met with military personnel during a visit to the RAF base.

The PM said:

“Some of the planes here today are going to be used very shortly over the border in Belarus, in Poland, and elsewhere over Ukraine, to see what’s going on and to allow us to have even finer detail evaluation of the military dispositions there.”

The Prime Minister also accused Russia of orchestrating “false flag” attacks in Ukraine as a pretext for an invasion.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits RAF Waddington. RAF Waddington. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Western allies fear Russia will carry out or support attacks in Ukraine which it will then falsely blame on the Kyiv government in order to justify an invasion.

During his tour of RAF Waddington, Mr Johnson examined some of the planes and drones the RAF uses are “extraordinary.”

Mr Johnson said:

“Lincolnshire is crucial to our abilities to monitor what’s going on.

“RAF Waddington is an incredible centre for intelligence gathering and surveillance.

“The things they are reporting are very useful in knowing whether the Russians really are moving their tanks backwards or not, what’s really happening with the disposition of forces.”

Russia has repeatedly denied it is planning to invade Ukraine, despite massing an estimated 130,000 – 170,0000 troops along the Ukranian border.

The Prime Minister told reporters:

“I’m afraid the bad news is that the Russians are basically having us on, when they say that they’re withdrawing.

“They’re not withdrawing, clearly they’re encroaching.”

He continued:

“I hope that President Putin pulls back from the brink. There’s room for discussion, there’s room for diplomacy, there’s room for conversation about Russia’s concerns, without compromising the fundamental principle that Ukraine has got to be able to decide its own destiny.”

Britain is doubling its troop presence in Estonia in response to the tensions, with extra personnel and machinery being sent to deployments across Europe.

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