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UK Defense Chief warns of global conflict escalation, war in Ukraine among major concerns

UK Defense Chief warns of global conflict escalation, war in Ukraine among major concerns Grant Shapps (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The world is becoming more dangerous, demanding Britain and its allies confront "irrational" states. London will increase defense spending, states UK Defense Minister Grant Shapps.

This year is expected to be a turning point

Delivering a speech outlining his perspective that the world will become more dangerous in 2024, and will require the UK and its allies to confront "irrational" states, Shapps has stated that the government aims to increase defense spending to 2.5% of GDP and urged other democratic countries to follow suit.

He warns that in five years, Britain might find itself involved in multiple theaters of military action, including with Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.

"Ask it more likely that that number grows or reduces? I suspect we all know the answer. It's likely to grow. So, 2024 must mark an inflection point," the minister says.

Britain is modernizing its nuclear forces

Shapps has mentioned that Britain is spending more on defense in monetary terms than ever before. He also added that the government is allocating funds to modernize its nuclear deterrent and replenish reserves, with plans to continue doing so.

Referring to NATO members that haven't met the 2% GDP spending target, Shapps adds that it's now time for all allied and democratic countries worldwide to do the same and ensure an increase in their defense expenditures.

Britain is ready to act when necessary

The Defense Secretary clarifies that while the government is increasing defense spending, matters exceeding current expenditures fall under the finance minister's purview. He also states that Britain has demonstrated its readiness to act when necessary, citing coordinated strikes with the U.S. against Houthi rebels in Yemen to protect international shipping.

Emphasizing Britain's involvement in global politics, Shapps announces that the UK is deploying 20,000 troops for service in Europe as part of NATO exercises in the first half of this year, along with military ships and destroyers.

Possible NATO-Russia war

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has stated that if Western countries do not help Ukraine succeed, the next target of invasion could be the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

It was also reported that Lithuania planned to create a light infantry division by 2030, alongside two other NATO units, in preparation for possible war.

Earlier, NATO Lieutenant General Jürgen-Joachim von Sandrart warned that Russia was rebuilding its potential and preparing for a possible confrontation with the North Atlantic Alliance.