Ukraine war: British troops must prepare to fight in Europe once again, says new head of Army

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British troops must prepare "to fight in Europe once again" as the war in Ukraine continues, the new head of the Army has warned.

General Sir Patrick Sanders took over from General Sir Mark Carleton Smith on Monday and wrote to his charges about the challenges they face.

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine underlines our core purpose to protect the UK by being ready to fight and win wars on land," he said.

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"There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle.

"We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again."

He added that he is the first Chief of the General Staff since 1941 to take command of the Army "in the shadow of a land war in Europe involving a continental power".

Both the Prime Minister and NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg have warned to be prepared to offer Ukraine its support long term.

His comments follow Boris Johnson's recent trip to Kyiv to meet with Ukraine's president, after which the Prime Minister said Vladimir Putin's invasion is "entering a new phase".

Writing in The Times, Mr Johnson said: "I am afraid that we need to steel ourselves for a long war, as Putin resorts to a campaign of attrition, trying to grind down Ukraine by sheer brutality.

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"Everything will depend on whether Ukraine can strengthen its ability to defend its soil faster than Russia can renew its capacity to attack," he added.

"Our task is to enlist time on Ukraine's side."

The Government set out plans last year to reduce the size of the regular Army, lowering the target size from 82,000 personnel to 72,500 by 2025.

When the announcement was made in March 2021, the Army had around 76,500 regular soldiers.

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