British Army chief warns Russia could attack the West 'sooner than expected'

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
General Sir Nick Carter warned the West could face an attack from Russia sooner than expected (PA)

The head of the British Army has warned that Britain and the West faces a growing threat from Russia, who could attack “sooner than expected”.

General Sir Nick Carter highlighted how the Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, in building an increasingly aggressive and expeditionary force, already boasts capabilities the UK would struggle to match.

He said that Britain now needs to prepare to “fight the war we might have to fight”, owing to the growing threat of Russian aggression.

A Russian military propaganda video detailed the country’s vast equipment and ammunition (PA)

To a packed room at the Royal United Services Institute in London, Gen Carter showed a Russian military propaganda video that detailed their vast equipment and ammunition.

He said we have to accept the three-minute video is “information warfare at its best” and that it showed the Kremlin has an “eye watering quantity of capability”.

Gen Carter said “not in any way” does he want to suggest that Russia would go to war in the traditional sense, but that Moscow “could initiate hostilities sooner than we expect”.

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He added: “I don’t think it will start with little green men, it will start with something we don’t expect. We should not take what we have seen so far as a template for the future.”

Gen Carter also stressed how the UK needs to “prepare ourselves to fight the war we might have to fight”.

He said: “I think it is an important point, because in being prepared to fight the war we might have to fight, there is a sporting chance that we will prevent it from happening.

Gen Carter’s comments paved the way for a U-turn on the decision to pull British troops from Germany (Rex)

“And I think the 100th anniversary of World War One gives us the great chance to actually think about what the war might look like.”

The 58-year-old highlighted how Russia has used the conflict in Syria to “develop an expeditionary capability”, giving their officers “high-end war fighting experience” they had not been able to garner in Ukraine.

And that as an ally of Bashar al-Assad, Moscow used the war to “combat-test their long range strike missiles and over 150 new weapons”.

Gen Carter said Russian President Vladimir Putin had built “an increasingly aggressive and expeditionary force” (Rex)

During his speech Gen Carter stressed that Britain “must take notice of what is going on around us” or that the ability by the UK to take action will be “massively constrained”.

He said: “I believe our ability to pre-empt or respond to these threats will be eroded if we don’t match up to them now.

“They represent a clear and present danger – they are not thousands of miles away they are now on Europe’s doorstep and the character of warfare is making it much harder for us to recognise true intentions and thus distinguish between what is peace and what is war.”

The size of the UK army has decreased over the last four decades (PA)

Gen Carter’s comments paved the way for a potential U-turn on the decision to pull back troops from Germany and close bases there by 2019.

There have been calls to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP from some MPs, and reports there are plans to cut the armed forces’ strength by more than 14,000, as well as the combination of elite units of paratroopers and Royal Marines to save cash.

Gen Carter said that “contrary to speculation no decisions have yet been made”.