Defence secretary Ben Wallace has suggested that UK defence spending ought to go up and has accused Russia of mirroring the horrors of the Second World War.
“As a threat changes, so should our funding”, he explained following his address to the National Army Museum earlier today.
Wallace claimed the Ministry of Defence budget for this year and the following remains in a “sound position” and that subsequent plans will depend on Nato plans.
“I have always said as a threat changes, so should our funding. No different from other parts of government, if pressure on the NHS goes up, that gets met with money. If threat changes, then that should.
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“If it goes down, be prepared what you wish for, because if the threat goes down, maybe defence spending. So, I think it’s up to me to present a case about the threat and what we need to do to counter it. Then it’s a discussion about government, about its appetite,” Wallace stressed.
He went on to say that the UK believes Russia is “running out of his precision stock fairly quickly”.
“We all have highly complex weapons that, funnily enough, don’t take a couple of days to replace, it can take months.
“Once you fire them all in the way Russia has done, they have a real challenge and I think in the long term my point about ‘has Putin already won or lost in the long run’, you know, Putin trying to refurbish that armed forces is going to be incredibly hard. A lot of the components come from the West, he won’t be able to get hold of those.”
Wallace also reinforced previous UK claims that Ukraine could be in a position to “win” the ongoing conflict.
Ahead of Russia’s Victory Day parade this morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claimed the West had been planning to invade Russia prior to its invasion on Ukraine.
Wallace blasted what he described as Putin’s “fairytale claims”.
“It’s literally getting… if it wasn’t so tragic it would be amusing, but it isn’t,” he went on.
“One of his claims is that he is surrounded. Nato accounts for six per cent of his land border. That’s not being surrounded if only six per cent of your land border is Nato countries.”
Later today, he stressed that “Nato is never going to expand into Russia”, in a Q&A as part of the “Defence of Europe “ conference hosted by Reaction magazine and the King’s College London War Studies department in central London this afternoon.
He also said Putin and his cronies in Russia and beyond are “mirroring” the “fascism and tyranny” of the Second World War.
“Through the invasion of Ukraine, Putin, his inner circle, his generals, are now mirroring fascism and tyranny 77 years ago, repeating the errors of the last century’s totalitarian regimes.
“They are showing the same disregard for human life, national sovereignty and the rules-based international system.”
He also accused Putin of attempting to “intimidate” the world, explaining: “Really what President Putin wants is the Russian people and the world to be awed and intimidated by the ongoing memorial to militarism. I believe the ongoing und unprovoked conflict in Ukraine does nothing but dishonour those same soldiers.”