UK says defense commitment in Nordic and Baltic states won't waver after Brexit

FILE PHOTO - Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will pledge on Monday that its commitment to security and defense in Nordic and Baltic nations will not change after Brexit, seeking to reassure states affected by what foreign minister Boris Johnson described as “Russian antagonism”.

The Foreign Office said Johnson would host a meeting of foreign ministers from eight countries, including Estonia, Sweden and Latvia, on Monday to discuss issues including Russia, NATO and defense co-operation after Britain’s EU exit.

“In an increasingly complex world, Britain remains a reassuring presence to its friends, especially those facing continued Russian antagonism in the north of Europe and the Baltic region,” he said in a statement ahead of the meeting.

He cited the deployment British troops in Estonia, which in March reached around 800 personnel, as a statement that Britain stands by its allies “in the face of outside aggression” and of its commitment to NATO.

“Britain wants a safe and secure world, and as we leave the European Union, we will continue to defend and promote our common interests, as we rise to any challenges we face together,” he said.

Reporting by William James; Editing by Robin Pomeroy