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Britain admits it could not fight Russia for over two months

Britain admits it could not fight Russia for over two months Britain admits it could not fight Russia for over two months (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Britain would not be able to fight Russia for more than two months. London would lack the necessary resources, according to the Deputy Chief of the British Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Rob Magowan.

When former Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mark Francois said that Great Britain "couldn’t fight [Vladimir] Putin for more than a couple of months in a full-on shooting war because we don’t have the ammunition and the reserves of equipment to do it, that’s true, isn’t it?" Magowan admitted that it was true.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps added that any such conflict would be conducted together with NATO allies, who collectively could outgun Russia, not just Great Britain.

"For people watching, and hearing that the UK isn’t ready for war exclusively with Russia, it’s important to understand that because we are in Nato and [mutual defence agreement] Article 5 exists, we would never be in that situation (face-to-face war with Russia - ed.)," he said.


An investigation by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee showed that the British "increasingly overstretched" armed forces would not be ready for war with Russia. It was found that the government would "never achieve warfighting or strategic readiness" without urgent reforms to reverse the recruitment crisis and sharply increase British stocks of weapons and ammunition.

In the report, MPs stated that the British Armed Forces needed more funding to "engage in operations whilst also developing warfighting readiness" or it would have to reduce the "operational burden" on the military.

Former defence chiefs told the committee that the Armed Forces had been "hollowed out" since 2010 and "in a peer-on-peer conflict... would have exhausted their capabilities after the first couple of months of the engagement."

Magowan, in turn, insisted that Great Britain was "ready for war," although he acknowledged that it is not prepared for a prolonged conflict with Russia.

Shapps also told parliamentarians that lessons learned from the war in Ukraine showed the importance of drone warfare, as they are "lethal" yet inexpensive.

"This [Ukraine] is probably the first true drone war and I don’t think we will ever see a war again that doesn’t heavily involve drones," he said.

Drone coalition for Ukraine

Last month, Great Britain announced that it would lead a new coalition with Latvia to deliver thousands of kamikaze drones to Ukraine amid a shortage of ammunition on the front lines. Western manufacturers will be involved in producing FPV combat drones as part of this scheme.

"Drones belie the usual facts of war. Usually, every generation gets more expensive to have lethal effect, but actually drones, which sometimes cost a few thousand pounds, can be extremely lethal," Shapps said.

However, he warned that "basic warfare and ammunition" will remain important in any future conflict.