The outgoing head of the British armed forces has said that the army will have to be prepared for a war with Russia after the recent tensions in Eastern Europe, but he does not think that Vladimir Putin really wants a “hot war” with the ‘West.
General Sir Nick Carter has said that Russia is now a bigger threat in Eastern Europe than it was when he took on this role eight years ago, when he was giving a series of interviews before his departure as Chief of the Defense Staff at the end of the month.
He said he “distinctly hoped” that there would be no war with Russia and that he did not believe the country wanted physical war, but NATO should be ready.
He spoke amid tensions on the border between Poland and Russia’s ally Belarus over refugees stranded in camps, as well as signs that Russian troops could mass along the border with Russia. Ukraine.
Liz Truss, the British Foreign Secretary, this weekend urged Putin to intervene in the “shameful crisis of manufactured migrants” unfolding at the border. Western countries have accused Belarus of attracting people to the border wanting to enter the EU, while Poland has pushed back its efforts to enter.
Former MI6 officer Christopher Steele said he believed Moscow believed it was at war with the UK and its allies.
Asked about this view on Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Carter said: “Russia probably views the global strategic context as an ongoing struggle in which I think it would apply all the instruments of national power to achieve its goals. But in doing so, [the Russians] I don’t want to start a hot war.
“So, yeah, in a way, I think he’s right. The question, of course, is how do you define war and I, as a soldier, would tend to define war as the actual act of fighting and fighting, and I don’t think they want to? that.
“I think they want to try to achieve their goal in a little more nuanced way.”
He later told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show that Russia was in a “hybrid game plan where you link disinformation with destabilization and the idea of pushing migrants to the borders of the European Union is a classic example of this sort of thing ”.
He said that it was very likely that the border situations between Belarus and Ukraine were a “classic distraction” on the part of the Russian government of the kind that had lasted “for years and years and years”.
When asked if this could turn into a gunshot war, Carter replied, “I don’t know. I think we need to be on our toes and make sure that deterrence prevails and critically we need to make sure that there is unity in the NATO alliance and we don’t allow any loopholes to emerge. produce in our collective position.
Carter also admitted that the situation in Afghanistan was “not good”, after arguing at the time of the Taliban takeover in August that the group had changed and that it should have “the space” to train. a government.
He said there had been “horrific pictures … of a potential humanitarian crisis” and admitted that the Taliban had “a lot of things that needed to change.” But he still insisted that the Taliban were different from what they were in 2001 and claimed that “the moderates probably claim in private that they are a different kind of Taliban.”
Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, 55, chief of the navy, takes the helm of the armed forces, with Carter set to step down at the end of the month.