Sunday, 3 Jul 2022

Putin’s war escalates as British Armed Forces told: ‘Be ready to face down Russia’

Ukraine: European leaders visit Kyiv

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that the war between Ukraine and Russia could go on for years. Speaking this weekend, he said: “We must prepare for the fact that it could take years. We must not let up in supporting Ukraine. “Even if the costs are high, not only for military support, also because of rising energy and food prices.” Russia is continuing to attack the east of Ukraine and has made significant progress in the region having initially faltered in the early days of the war.

The escalations have led to grave warnings for Britons, as soldiers are told they may have to prepare to fight in Europe again.

Newly appointed head of the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, made the comments last week.

And now, former chief of the general staff Lord Dannatt has agreed with him.

He told Times Radio: “Patrick Sanders is not wrong, this comes back to our earlier point that this is going to be a long conflict.

“Russia mustn’t win, but Ukraine must not lose on behalf of all of the West.

“Our Government has got to get this message as well, in recent years in terms of defence spending, the army has taken the lowest priority.

“We’ve now been given a wake up call with a brutal land war in Europe, and given Ukraine is going to struggle, we have to expect this conflict to continue for quite some time.

“I hope this doesn’t become a hot war elsewhere in Europe, but the way we are going to deter Russia is by having a capable military that is forward deployed, that is strong and will make Russia realise that they can’t bully as they tried to do in Ukraine.

“Patrick Sanders is right to send a battle cry to the army, but that has to be heard by the Government.

“We have got to be prepared to face down Russia from a position of strength, not just a war of words.”

General Sanders was quoted by The Sun last week as saying: “There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle.

“We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again.”

General Sanders added: “I am the first Chief of the General Staff since 1941 to take command of the Army in the shadow of a land war in Europe involving a continental power.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underlines our core purpose — to protect the UK by being ready to fight and win wars on land.”

Last week, European leaders travelled to Kyiv in a show of solidarity with Ukraine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz were among those present.

Mr Johnson reaffirmed Britain’s support for Ukraine, cautioning against “Ukraine fatigue” as Russia’s invasion reaches five months.

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Speaking to reporters on his arrival at RAF Brize Norton after the trip, the Prime Minister said: “When Ukraine fatigue is setting in, it is very important to show that we are with them for the long haul and we are giving them the strategic resilience that they need.

“The Russians are grinding forward inch by inch and it is vital for us to show what we know to be true, which is that Ukraine can win and will win.”

Mr Johnson also warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot win”, denouncing the idea of compromise with Moscow.

He continued: “It would be a catastrophe if Putin won. He’d love nothing more than to say: ‘Let’s freeze this conflict, let’s have a ceasefire like we had back in 2014.’

“For him, that would be a tremendous victory. You’d have a situation in which Putin was able to consolidate his gains and then to launch another attack.

“We’ve got to make it clear that we are supporting the Ukrainians in their ambitions … to expel the Russians, expel Putin’s armies, from everything that he has obtained since February 24 and make sure the Ukrainians are not encouraged to go for a bad peace, something that simply wouldn’t endure.”

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