Post-Brexit UK ready to use hard power says defence minister

One positive development resulting from increased Russian aggression against its former satellite states in the Soviet Union, and its increasingly vicious and threatening diatribes against its European neighbours, is the fact the the British government has woken up and has finally begun to repair the damage to its military defences caused by decades of spending cuts and neglect, most notoriously under Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative government, writes EU Today publisher Gary Cartwright.

Britain will use military force to support its interests after Brexit, defence minister Gavin Williamson said on Monday (11th Feb), in a speech setting out a global role for the armed forces but with little detail on how to fund such ambitions in the long term.

With two new massive aircraft carriers on the verge of readiness for active service, the arrival of the Lightning F-35 Stealth fighter, and the upgrade of the superb Typhoon interceptor, enhanced by the entry into service in recent weeks of the Meteor hypersonic air to air missile, as well as preparations for the acquisition of a missile defence shield, UK defences are looking good.

Russia, by comparison, appears to rely on propaganda rather than a strong military in order to reassure its suffering populace: hypersonic missiles that do not exist, anti-aircraft systems that when threatened do not function (and appear to have now been rejected by Turkey in favour of the US built Patriot system), and a smoke belching aircraft carrier that has become a laughing stock (and which is currently out of service).

Russia’s so-called “special forces” - Spetznaz - appear to be relatively effective against unarmed civilians in Georgia (2008) and Crimea (2014), but have proven unable to perform effectively against Ukrainian volunteers in the Donbass region. How would they stand up to Britain's Parachute regiment, or the United States Marines?

Attacks by Russia’s FSB and GRU against UK citizens and residents, Alexander Litvinenko and Sergei Skripal being the highest profile victims, have provoked strong reaction in the UK against the Putin regime. 

British intelligence services are claiming victory over the GRU (Russian military intelligence) having announced recently that their network in the UK has now been totally dismantled. The UK security services and the judiciary alike are open in their condemnation of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, as having been responsible for ordering the attack on Skripal, and “probably” having also ordered the murder of Litvinenko in London in 2006.

Possibly the strongest statement the UK has made against Putin’s drive to undermine the democratic nations and to recreate the Soviet Union in his own image is the recent deployment of the hydrographical survey ship HMS Echo to Odessa, the home port of the Ukrainian Navy. 

HMS Echo is a spy ship. She is capable of sucking up all electronic communications, civilian and military, in the region. The deployment of such a vessel could be seen as the first stage of an escalation which could see big beasts such as Britain’s Type 45 destroyers, capable of exercising total control over vast areas of airspace, as seen when HMS Duncan recently taught a valuable lesson to 17 Russian attack aircraft whilst traversing international waterways just 30 miles from the coast of Crimea. 

Ukraine is currently the front line in the war between modern, progressive, and peaceful western democratic politics, and the evil and dehumanising ideologies of the past, resurrected by gangsters who seek control and power simply for the purposes of their own enrichment. 

Should Russia wish to attack Ukraine, as is widely feared, the presence of British naval personnel in the strategically vital port of Odessa would act as a serious deterrent. Should the worst happen, Vladimir Putin might wish to reflect upon what happened to the Russian army when it last came up against Great Britain and her allies in Crimea 1853-56.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

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