A former UK Army chief has warned that if Ukraine is not given more help to “break the back of the Russian army” an “all-out war in Europe could happen. General Lord Richard Dannatt called on the UK Government to up their funding to the defence ministry over fears of dwindling military stockpiles and a protracted war in eastern Europe. He added that the UK runs the risk of “walking into a 1939 scenario” where appeasement paves the way for a widespread conflict. It comes as CIA director William Burns said that Vladimir Putin remains “confident” he can outlast Western support for Ukraine.
Speaking to MailOnline, General Lord Dannatt said: “Ukraine must be given the help they need to break the back of the Russian army.
“If we’re serious about wanting to see Ukrainians win then we must do that.
“If, however, people harbour some lingering aspiration to bring this war to a negotiated settlement we’re effectively going to sell the Ukrainians down the line because the only negotiated settlement that Putin is going to accept is having control of Crimea and Donbass.”
He added: “I very much think there’s a danger that we’re walking into a 1939 scenario. We’re in the same position today.
“We haven’t just got the threat of a dictator in Europe, we have got actual aggression and violence from a dictator in Europe.
“Freedom isn’t free. Britain’s message to Russia is we are not giving up and we are not going away.”
The former Army boss’s warning comes ahead of a crucial decision in parliament next month over how much the Government will spend on its military budget.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are being pressured to allocate at least £3 billion more into defence.
They have also been called upon to reverse plans to shrink the Army further over the next two years, a move that began gaining momentum towards the end of the Cold War.
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Behind closed doors in Whitehall, however, defence secretary Ben Wallace is fighting for £11 billion from the Treasury, as he warned that “war is coming to Britain” by the end of the decade.
Mr Wallace told The Sun: “In order to deter, you have to be ready, you have to be equipped and you have to stand with your friends and your allies.”
In the US, CIA Director William Burns said on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is being “too confident” in his military’s ability to grind Ukraine into submission.
Mr Burns, in a television interview, said the head of Russia’s intelligence services had displayed in their November meeting “a sense of cockiness and hubris” that reflected Putin’s own beliefs “that he can make time work for him, that he believes he can grind down the Ukrainians that he can wear down our European allies, that political fatigue will eventually set in”.
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That conversation, in which Mr Burns warned of the consequences if Russia were to deploy a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, was “pretty dispiriting”, he said.
He said he judged Putin as “quite determined” to continue prosecuting the war, despite the casualties, tactical shortcomings and economic and reputational damage to Russia.
“I think Putin is, right now, entirely too confident of his ability … to wear down Ukraine,” Mr Burns told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview that aired on Sunday.
Mr Burns said that “at some point, he’s going to have to face increasing costs as well, in coffins coming home to some of the poorest parts of Russia,” where he said many of the conscripts “being thrown as cannon fodder” are from.
Mr Burns also said Putin was underestimating US resolve to support Ukraine, saying that it has been his experience that the Russian leader’s view is that Americans have “attention deficit disorder and we’ll move on to some other issue eventually”.
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