Defence Secretary Ben Wallace Warns Putin May Lash Out At Wider Europe

"In these days of long range missiles and stealth - distance is no protection," the cabinet minister said.
Dominic Lipinski via PA Wire/PA Images

Ben Wallace has dramatically ramped up his call for more defence spending, warning that Vladimir Putin may “lash out” at wider Europe.

The UK’s defence secretary said the “peace dividend” was over and investment in defence needed to grow.

In a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, Wallace said: “Right now Russia is the most direct and pressing threat to Europe, to our allies and these shores.

“I am serious when I say there is a very real danger Russia will lash out against wider Europe. In these days of long range missiles and stealth - distance is no protection.

“It is time to mobilise, be ready and be relevant.”

- Ben Wallace

“The threat is growing, is global and multi-domain. It is now time to signal that the peace dividend is over and investment needs to continue to grow before it becomes too late to address the resurgent threat and the lessons learned in Ukraine. It is time to mobilise, be ready and be relevant.”

Wallace said the threat had “changed” and so must the funding. He has reportedly written to Boris Johnson calling for a 20 per cent increase in spending to meet shortfalls in military capabilities.

It comes as General Sir Patrick Sanders, chief of the general staff, warned Britain is facing another “1937 moment” and must be ready to act quickly.

Sanders said British troops must be prepared to “fight and win” to stop the spread of war in Europe.

A No.10 spokesman said: “In 2022, the PM announced the largest increase in defence spending since the Cold War. That cemented our position as the biggest defence spender in Europe.

“That was a £16.5 billion increase over four years. That meant we could continue to provide crucial military support to Ukraine as well as allowing us to invest in a range of capabilities such as vehicles and drones and other areas of defence capability.

“Departmental spending on matters like that are for the chancellor and are part of fiscal events. The Prime Minister has always said we would respond to any changes in terms of threat which is why we announced the extra funding for the Ministry of Defence.”


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