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UK citizens must be prepared for war with Russia, Chief of General Staff warns

UK citizens must be prepared for war with Russia, Chief of General Staff warns Chief of the UK General Staff Patrick Sanders (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The people of Great Britain are part of the "prewar generation," which, if necessary, must be ready to wage a major war against an increasingly aggressive Russia, says Chief of the UK General Staff Patrick Sanders.

He also states that ordinary citizens would be required to supplement the small army of the United Kingdom, although the Ministry of Defense clarifies that there would be no return to peacetime conscription, which was abolished in 1960.

In his speech at a military conference in Twickenham, Sanders cites the example of Sweden, which recently reintroduced national service as it approached NATO membership.

The Chief of the General Staff asserts that the United Kingdom needs to follow Sweden's example and take preparatory steps to position society for military readiness. According to him, such actions are not just desirable but necessary.

Ukraine's experience is useful for Britain

"The foundations for 'national mobilisation' could not be confined to countries neighbouring or close to Russia, and as a result ordinary people in the UK would be forced to join the UK’s 74,110 full-time regular army to see off an active threat to mainland Europe," the material states.

Sanders states that Britain is not immune and must prepare similarly.

He adds that Ukraine demonstrates that wars may begin with regular armies, but victory is achieved by civilian armies (referring to civilians joining the military - Ed.).

Conflict among Britain's military

Sanders, set to retire from the army in July, previously complained about budget cuts. A year ago, attempting to ensure that politicians fill the future spending deficit, he warned that supplying weapons to Ukraine would make them "temporarily weaker."

The material notes that such public disputes over money led to a conflict with the Ministry of Defense amid reports of clashes with the Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

Some allies believe that Sanders should have been promoted instead of Radakin, but he was asked to retire prematurely after serving two out of three years in the position of Chief of the General Staff.

Britain's army has been shrinking

In his speech, Sanders states that over the last 30 years, the size of the army has halved, and in the last 12 years, a reduction of 28% has been achieved.

He acknowledges that recruitment remains a problem, although the number of applications has been "the highest in six years."

Ministry of Defense's position

The Guardian reports that Sanders' speech was published by the army, not the Ministry of Defense. In the morning, the department in the Ministry of Defense released its own explanatory statement, emphasizing that a return to national service is not advocated.

The British military has a proud tradition of being a voluntary force and there is absolutely no suggestion of a return to conscription," said the Ministry of Defense.

Possible war between Russia and NATO

Recently, Bild published a scenario for military exercises in Germany, during which the German armed forces prepare for a hybrid attack by Russia on the eastern flank of NATO.

A NATO official commented on Bild's material, stating that the Alliance received the exercise scenario, which always represents an imaginary situation to test military capabilities in a particular region.

For more information on the military capabilities of Russia and NATO, as well as how the conflict may develop, refer to RBC-Ukraine's material.