Ready for war: Russia a bigger threat than at any time since Cold War’s end, warns report

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The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) report comes a day after former Sea Lord, Baron West of Spithead, told any attempt to cut corners when it came to defence would put the UK at direct risk from Vladimir Putin’s nation, citing his constant “probing and prodding” of British defences. Russia’s Military Modernisation: An Assessment, is an exhaustive investigation of Russia’s military power.

The dossier says: “Russia is today a far more capable military power than it was in the early 2000s or at any time since the fall of the Soviet Union, with readily deployable and well-equipped forces”.

It adds: “Russia’s armed forces have benefited from more than a decade of investment and reform.

“Though significantly smaller than their Soviet predecessors, these forces are better equipped, with professional personnel increasingly prevalent.

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“Elements are held at high readiness, and Moscow has left behind the era of mass mobilisation, where units would be rapidly brought to strength with reservists.

“Today, Russia fields capable conventional armed forces, which Moscow has been willing to use operationally, as well as one of the world’s two largest strategic arsenals.”

The report highlights that Russia has upgraded, or is in the process of upgrading, four classes of military aircraft – the Tupolev Ti-22M3M strike bomber, Su-34S fighter-bomber/strike aircraft, the MiG31BM supersonic interceptor aircraft and the IL-76MD-M/IL-76MD-90A, a Strategic and tactical airlifter.

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The report concludes: “While Russia’s armed forces have entered this decade in considerably better condition than ten years before, it is not a foregone conclusion that this level of progress can be maintained.

“Nonetheless, when combined with Moscow’s more assertive foreign policy, Russia’s armed forces in 2020 constitute a capability that should not be ignored.”

Speaking yesterday prior to the publication of the report, Lord West told he was concerned at the possibility of cuts to the UK’s defence budget as a result of the ongoing integrated defence review being spearheaded by Dominic Cummings, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief advisor.

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He added: “If you look at Russia, and what she is doing in Europe, she is pushing and prodding, and there are more Russia nuclear submarines operating off our coasts than than we have had since the Cold War.

“They are looking for our ballistic missile submarines although they haven’t found them yet thank goodness.

“They are flying aircraft in towards Britain, they are doing close passes of our ships and our aircraft with near misses when we are at sea and things.

“They have carried out cyber attacks, we know they carried out the Salisbury attack.

“They are very high risk and they need to know that we have got strong defences and that they shouldn’t take the risk of an attack on us.

“If you are seen to be getting rid of your forces, like I am afraid some of the European nations are – apart from France, Europe have done worse than us, Germany has done terribly – the message that Putin gets is they don’t take this seriously and I can do what I want.

“You have got to remember than China and Russia have a different view of it – they are used to losing millions of people.

“They don’t see things like us, who see life as so precious.

“They don’t really care – Russia lost 27 million in World War 2 and China lost millions during the Long March as well.”

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