British Army needs 10 years to repel Russia, warns UK general
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Top military official General Sir Richard Barrons has warned that the British Army has suffered tremendously as a result of cuts and a lack of investment, leaving troops incapable of defending the country without substantial support. To illustrate the scale of the danger, Sir Richard argued that the British Armed Forces has now been hollowed out to the point where repelling an attack by Russia would require five to ten years’ notice from Vladimir Putin.
During the Cold conflict, the UK was ready for conflict in four hours, but years of deterioration have rendered that capability obsolete, Sir Richard has told Mail Online.
The former commander of the UK’s Joint Forces Command has chastised Downing Street, accusing them of deferring the problem of defence spending until the next General Election.
He urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to increase military spending by £11billion over the next two years, warning that Russia, despite being embroiled in a bloody conflict in Ukraine and losing troops and equipment at an alarming rate, could soon re-arm and pose an even greater threat to the West.
Sir Richard told the MailOnline: “Russia is clearly angry and rearming so their capability will be restored and when the shooting stops in Ukraine, Russia will blame the outcome on us.
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“We are already in confrontation with Russia. Right now, we have chosen to do very little about it.
“During the Cold War the Army, at all times, was ready to fight at four hours’ notice. When the Cold War ended and there was no sense of existential risk to the UK, all of that was dismantled.
“Now we would need five to 10 years’ notice of a Russian surprise attack to manage to deal with it. That’s not a cool place to be… It’s deeply disappointing.”
The United Kingdom has approximately 137,000 military personnel, 227 tanks, and 5,015 armoured vehicles.
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Meanwhile, Russia, despite experiencing heavy losses in Ukraine, has approximately 1,350,000 troops, 12,420 tanks, and more than 30,000 armoured vehicles.
Furthermore, the Kremlin has approximately 605 vessels in its fleet, compared to the UK’s 70, which includes two aircraft carriers and six destroyers.
Last week, the UK government revealed plans to raise defence spending by £5billion over the next two years, which is only a portion of the £8billion to £11billion requested by Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
Rishi Sunak also promised to increase defence spending from slightly more than two percent of national income to 2.5 percent, but the Prime Minister has not provided a definite timetable for doing so.
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Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of Defence Staff, praised the pledge and stated that if the new goal was met within a decade, it would amount to an additional £100 billion.
Despite the increase, the UK military chief did not rule out further cuts, telling Sky News: “What we’re seeing is extra investment. And… we might determine that we really want to concentrate on some specific capabilities.
“And, undoubtedly, you will have to cut back in other areas, but this is about continuing to invest in UK defence.’
The Army has already shrunk to its smallest size since the time of the Napoleonic war, with plans to reduce it by another 3,000 to 73,000 troops.
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