The British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has warned that the war in Ukraine has exposed Europe’s military vulnerabilities in the face of any aggressor.
Wallace warned that Europe is now paying the price of “hollowing out” readiness levels, ammunition stocks and essential maintenance.
Wallace said the world has now become “much more dangerous and unstable” which strongly underlines the need for a long-term increase in Britain’s defence budget’
Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, “Ukraine has exposed across Europe – including in France and in Germany and other nations – our own vulnerabilities.
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“Our ammo stocks, our readiness levels, our ability to meet Russia or any other enemy that chooses to play or attack us at what we call ‘below threshold’, before formal armed conflict.
“It has been well known for decades that where the armed forces have had to save money on things like its readiness or its infrastructure, the places that got unfunded were the unsexy parts of defence.
“Maintenance, ship lifts, all sorts of things that you and I don’t think are that exciting but are nevertheless really, really important.”
Speaking of the Russian Army he said that Vladimir Putin’s “land forces are in a dire state” and Moscow’s combat effectiveness as now been depleted by as much as 40%.
He told the Today programme, “Yes, Putin’s land forces are in a dire state.
“It will leave him the options of what he does with his air force and his navy – which are not as remotely as badly affected.
“A vindictive President Putin could use those in a different way to threaten our (undersea) cables or something else.”
On Wednesday NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged Defence Ministers in Brussels to commit to spending 2% of their national income on defence.
Stoltenberg said, “There is a full-fledged war going on in Ukraine, in Europe, and then we see the persistent threat of terrorism, and we see also the challenges that China is forcing to our security.
“So, it is obvious that we need to spend more.”
The British Defence Secretary said that he pressing for a £10 billion uplift on defence spending from the Treasury and the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ahead of the budget.
Wallace told Sky News, “It’s always an uphill battle with the Treasury, no matter what department you’re in.
“But this is not about resigning or anything else: it’s about delivering defence to meet the threat.”