Vladimir Putin being unwell is wishful thinking, says head of UK’s armed forces

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Vladimir Putin being unwell is wishful thinking, says head of UK’s armed forces
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Speculation Vladimir Putin is sick and could be assassinated is wishful thinking, the head of UK’s armed forces has said.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin also said the next prime minister should know Russia is the “biggest threat” the UK is facing.

Speaking to BBC One’s Sunday Morning programme, he said: “I think some of these, some of the comments that he’s not well or that actually surely somebody’s going to assassinate him or take him out, I think they’re wishful thinking.

“For us, as military professionals, we see a relatively stable regime in Russia, we see that President Putin has been able to quash any opposition and then we see a hierarchy that is invested in President Putin and so nobody at the top has got the motivation to challenge President Putin, and that is bleak.

“That’s why the challenge of Russia is going to endure way beyond 2022 and 2023 and 2024, this is going to go on for a long time… potentially decades in terms of Russia as a threat.”

He said Russia’s land forces are probably less of a threat in the short term because of that degradation.

However the admiral warned of Russia’s nuclear power, cyber capabilities and space capabilities as the country continues its war on Ukraine.

The next prime minister will be briefed on the war in Ukraine and reminded of the “extraordinary responsibility they have with the UK as a nuclear power”, Admiral Radakin said.

Asked what he will say to the new PM, he added: “We will always give them a brief on the current situation so they are aware of where we have our armed forces. That’s dominated by Ukraine and the support that we are providing to Ukraine but we also try to step back and give a wider threat picture.

“And then we have to remind the prime minister of the extraordinary responsibility they have with the UK as a nuclear power, and that is part of the initiation for a new British prime minister and that becomes the focus.”

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