Ex-general warns UK must face possibility of NATO war with Putin

Putin 'is under heavy criticism even in Russia' says Alexander Khara

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A former general has warned that the UK must face the possibility of a NATO war against Vladimir Putin over Ukraine. He added that the prospect of a nuclear conflict is not one to be ignored.

General Sir Richard Shirreff has described a war between NATO countries and Russia a “very real possibility”.

He previously served as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe for the Western military alliance.

Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine has, by his account, “failed”.

Despite, or perhaps because of this, Sir Richard argued that Britons could soon find themselves tasked with fighting against Moscow’s forces.

He wrote in the Daily Mail: “Britain’s leaders… need great courage and the support of our whole population.

“Although Ukraine is fighting back, a war between NATO countries and Russia remains a very real possibility.”

The former general also criticised the UK’s approach to date of weakening its own armed forces.

He lamented that “instead of investing in our armed forces, successive UK defence reviews have drained our strength – and strength is the only standpoint that Putin understands”.

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Sir Richard remained convinced, however, that should Putin resort to the “genocidal tactic” of using nuclear weapons, “the response of the West would be unprecedented”.

He argued that “even Russia could not withstand such pain”.

The former general’s view appears very much to be shared by current, significant figures in the British Army.

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The new Chief of the General Staff of the British Army warned in June that British troops must prepare to “fight in Europe once again” to “defeat Russia”.

General Sir Patrick Sanders suggested that a Third Word War could be around the corner.

He said: “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.”

At around the same time, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a message to the Ukrainian people: “The UK is with you, and we will be with you until you ultimately prevail.”

This was a sentiment that has very much been echoed by Liz Truss since the beginning of her premiership.

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