Putin nonetheless has ‘brutality in his back pocket’, warns Defence Secretary

The worldwide group ought to “watch out” if Vladimir Putin wins in Ukraine via “brutality”, the Defence Secretary has warned.

Ben Wallace advised the Defence of Europe convention at King’s College London on Monday that Russia’s expertise, intelligence and management had all failed and Mr Putin had been improper in his perception that Ukrainians would welcome his troops.

But the Defence Secretary mentioned that the Russian president nonetheless had one possibility “in his back pocket” – “brutality”.

He mentioned: “If you win your war by killing, murdering, raping, bombing civilian territories, breaching all human rights, all Geneva Conventions, corruption, and that becomes the battle-winning component, the message that sends around the world to other adversaries around the world is incredibly dangerous.

“That you don’t need to have all the best kit or the best training or appropriate rule of law, you just need to be able to be more brutal than the other person and more prepared to destroy everything in your path.”

British troopers in Estonia, on Nato train Bold Dragon (Ben Birchall/PA).

(PA Wire)

He added: “That’s why it matters to the international community, and should matter, that if Putin is successful in Ukraine, then watch out.”

Reiterating feedback he made in a speech on the National Army Museum on Monday, Mr Wallace additionally took goal at Russian navy “incompetence”, saying it was a “betrayal” of the Russian individuals, whereas making clear he was not expressing sympathy for Russian troopers struggling within the conflict.

He mentioned there had been a “failure of the general staff of the Russian army to both, I suppose, speak truth to power but also to prepare their forces properly”.

Mr Wallace added: “From a professional point of view as a soldier, you have to marvel at the sort of betrayal, really, of many of those people.”

But, he mentioned, Russian troopers in any respect ranks needed to bear duty for actions in Ukraine, saying: “Suffering does not excuse culpability.”

Looking forward, Mr Wallace referred to as for Nato to supply a “long-term plan” to “contain” Russia, conceding Mr Putin would seemingly nonetheless be in workplace on the finish of the present battle in Ukraine.

He mentioned: “The question is how do we contain Russia, how do we reassure our allies and how do we provide resilience to other allies?”

Challenged on calls from some politicians to develop the scale of the Army, Mr Wallace hit again towards “Top Trump collectors” who, he mentioned, needed to “boast” concerning the variety of items the Army had no matter their effectiveness.

Referring to his personal expertise in an undersized Army division in northern Germany, he mentioned: “I want it to do what it says on the tin rather than these big hollow forces that we have all served in.”

He added: “What’s the point in boasting we have got so many units if they are not fully wrapped?”

He did, nevertheless, acknowledge that the Army’s land fleet was “woefully behind its friends and wanted to be modernised with additional funding.

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