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UK army chief urges spending boost amid Russia fears

Monday - 22/01/2018 20:11
THE head of one of the world’s most powerful armies has made a surprising admission when it comes to Russia — that the United Kingdom just cannot keep up.

THE UK armed forces could struggle to defeat Russian military prowess on the battlefield unless massive investments are made in defence force spending.

That’s according to Britain’s Chief of General Staff Sir Nick Carter, who will make the rare public intervention in a speech on Monday to warn of the military threat on “Europe’s doorstep”.

A copy of the speech seen ahead of time shows he will highlight President Putin’s ability to deploy long-range missiles and troops quickly.

“Our ability to pre-empt or respond to threats will be eroded if we don’t keep up with our adversaries,” he will tell an audience at a UK-based think tank.

“The threats we face are not thousands of miles away but are now on Europe’s doorstep. We have seen how cyber-warfare can be both waged on the battlefield and used to disrupt normal people’s lives. We in the UK are not immune from that.”

“We must take notice of what is going on around us or our ability to take action will be massively constrained. Speed of decision-making, speed of deployment and modern capability are essential if we wish to provide realistic deterrence.”

Sir Nick Carter pictured in 2009 as a Major General in Afghanistan. Now tipped to be in the frontrunning for Chief of Defence, he has issued a stark warning about UK military capability. Picture: AP Photo/Abdul Khaleq.
Sir Nick Carter pictured in 2009 as a Major General in Afghanistan. Now tipped to be in the frontrunning for Chief of Defence, he has issued a stark warning about UK military capability. Picture: AP Photo/Abdul Khaleq.Source:AP

Servicemen take part in the joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises Zapad-2017 (West-2017) at the Luzhsky training ground in the Leningrad region on September 18, 2017. Picture: AFP PHOTO / Vasily MAXIMOV
Servicemen take part in the joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises Zapad-2017 (West-2017) at the Luzhsky training ground in the Leningrad region on September 18, 2017. Picture: AFP PHOTO / Vasily MAXIMOVSource:AFP

The stark warning comes after Russia fired 26 cruise missiles into Syria from 1500km away and is a powerful statement from the man who is tipped to become the next Chief of Defence.

It also follows fears of Russian aggression following widespread military exercises in eastern Europe and increased alleged cyber activity to interfere with other nations.

Earlier this month, a leaked draft of the US nuclear posture review showed the country will focus on the development of “low yield” nuclear weapons to provide a deterrent. The report also confirmed the existence of a Russian underwater nuclear drone called Status-6 that had been tested at least once and is thought to be capable of being fitted with a 100-megaton nuclear warhead.

On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the West of harbouring a “Russiaphobia” worse than during the Cold War and said Moscow has “red lines” that other countries should respect.

“This Russiaphobia is unprecedented. We never saw this during the Cold War,” he told Russian media.

“Back then there were some rules, some decorum ... Now, all decorum has been cast aside.”

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