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27 Mar, 2024 15:53

British army would only last two months against Russia – top UK general

The military lacks ammo and equipment, the deputy chief of the Defense Staff has told MPs
British army would only last two months against Russia – top UK general

The British Armed Forces are not prepared for a potential confrontation with an adversary such as Russia, the deputy chief of the UK Defense Staff, Lieutenant General Robert Magowan, told a parliamentary defense committee on Tuesday. The military severely lacks the resources, particularly ammunition, for any such conflict, he believes.

The amount of money the government spends on ammunition, although “significant,” still “does not meet … the threats we face,” Magowan stated, adding that the military would have to manage “operational risk” linked to the lack of resources.

When further pressed by MP Mark Francois, a former minister of state for the Armed Forces, about the chances of holding out against Russia, the general admitted that British forces would hardly last longer than “a couple of months in a full-on shooting war.”

Defense Secretary Grant Chapps, who also appeared before MPs on Tuesday, claimed that there was no reason to worry, since the UK would unlikely have to face Russia alone. “It’s important to understand that because we are in NATO … we would never be in that situation,” he stated.

The comments came just a month after an inquiry by the Defense Committee found that the British Armed Forces were “increasingly outstretched” and thus not ready to face Russia. A year-long review of the UK’s defense capabilities released in early February concluded that the government would “never achieve warfighting or strategic readiness” without major reforms.

The document also said that the military is suffering from a recruitment crisis and is short at least 5,000 soldiers. At that time, the committee was also told by former defense chiefs that the Armed Forces had been “hollowed out” at least since 2010 and could not hold out against any major adversary in a “peer-on-peer conflict.” The troops “would have exhausted their capabilities after the first couple of months of the engagement,” the report said, according to The Telegraph.

On Tuesday, Magowan insisted that the UK was “ready for war” but just not with a nation such as Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that it had no plans of engaging in a military confrontation with the US-led military bloc or any of its members. President Vladimir Putin said earlier this year that Russia “has no interest … geopolitically, economically or militarily ... in waging war against NATO.” 

In mid-March, the Russian leader also said that he doubts that anyone is interested” in a direct military confrontation between Moscow and NATO, since that would mean that “we’ll be one step away from World War III.”

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