General Sir Nick Carter: "NATO must be ready for the eventuality of war with Russia"

This week Britain's most senior military officer said "we have to be on our guard" about the potential for conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

General Sir Nick Carter told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that he "distinctly hoped" there would not be a war with Russia, but added that NATO must be ready for that eventuality.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine are nothing new. In 2014 Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and soon after started to back a separatist insurgency in Ukraine's east that has seen some 14,000 people killed in periodic fighting.

More recently, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has moved against Russian interests, slapping sanctions on a powerful friend of President Putin and banning broadcasts by three pro-Russian TV stations.

US President Joe Biden meanwhile has said he will make it "very, very difficult" for Russia, which has boosted its military at the border and amassed some 94,000 troops there, to invade Ukraine.

Meanwhile, US media has reported that intelligence officials fear an invasion could begin in early 2022.

A video call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mr Biden to ease tensions is expected this week. The US President told reporters he is expecting to have a long discussion with the Russian leader, and warned that he will not "accept anybody's red lines".

"What I am doing is putting together what I believe to be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he's going to do," he said.

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