UK praises pilots for stopping 'Russian threat' in Black Sea

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Britain's defense minister on Wednesday praised Romanian and British pilots for protecting the Black Sea region from "the threat of Russian aggression," saying that Britain remains committed to NATO and to European security.

Minister Michael Fallon spoke at the Mihail Koglaniceanu air base in eastern Romania, where he met pilots and technicians servicing RAF Typhoon fighter jets that are beefing up NATO security around the Black Sea.

Fallon praised the pilots' "dazzling skills," thanking those "working tirelessly to protect the Black Sea skies against the persistent threat of Russian aggression."

He also used the occasion to "once more" reaffirm Britain's support for NATO, which he called "the bedrock of our defense."

He said British participation in NATO exercises "sends the strongest of signals about Britain's ongoing commitment to European security," adding that although Britain was leaving the EU, "a truly global Britain" would continue to play an active role "in our defense of those freedoms we have come to prize, of tolerance, of justice and of democracy."

He earlier visited the shooting range at Cincu, in central Romania, where 1,000 British troops are taking part in the "Noble Jump 2017" exercises.

Some 2,000 soldiers, 1,000 assistance personnel and 500 vehicles from 11 NATO nations are part of the drill, which aims to rest the readiness of alliance troops.