The British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has warned on Tuesday that there is a “very real danger” that Vladimir Putin could end up “lashing out” at other EU countries or even one belonging to NATO.
Wallace said at a news conference that Russia is as “the most direct and pressing threat to Europe” and he then blasted years of cutting the size of the armed forces.
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He accused successive Conservative and Labour governments of looking at ways to save money by slashing troop numbers by cashing in on the “peace dividend” which happened after the USSR collapsed.
In 2020 the Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to increase the defence budget by £24bn which was welcomed by Wallace.
The Defence Secretary warned that there are other threats not only from Russia but also from China and other countries therefore we must continue to increase the defence budget.
Wallace added, “I’ve always said as the threat changes, so must the funding.”
On Monday NATO forces were place on “high readiness” over fears that Putin is planning a further invasion and the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has dramatically said they are to increase their forces to “well over 300,000.”
This is their largest overhaul of their defences since the Cold War by significantly increasing troop numbers from 40,000 to more than “300,000” in Europe.
The expansion of NATO’s forces will mainly be in countries which are the closest to Russia and later this week in a landmark summit Stoltenberg will outline the new decisions.
In a briefing at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday, Stoltenberg said, Together, this constitutes the biggest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defence since the Cold War.”
The NATO chief added, “We will transform the NATO response force and increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000,” whilst Sky News reported that this will be called the Allied Reaction Force (ARF).
Stoltenberg said they will provide further support for Ukraine, he said, “Their courage and commitment are an inspiration. And I welcome that President Zelensky will join us at the NATO Summit.”