Russia is not losing and Ukraine is not winning, the Conservative chairman of the Defence Committee has warned as he urged the Government to increase defence spending and reverse the cuts to personnel and equipment.
Tobias Ellwood’s comments came as he raised an urgent question in the Commons on UK and Nato military commitments to Ukraine.
The Bournemouth East MP insisted that if the Government is “serious” about preventing conflict spreading in Europe, it needs to review its “defence posture”, increase defence spending to 3% and reverse the cuts in the 2021 Integrated Review of personnel and military equipment.
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Defence minister Leo Docherty reiterated the United Kingdom and Nato stand with Ukraine, adding “we are providing political and practical support to support its self-defence and will further strengthen Nato’s deterrence and defence posture”.
The debate also saw Labour calling for the Government to reveal whether it still has plans to cut the number of British troops after recent comments made by the new head of the Army.
Army chief General Sir Patrick Sanders said last week there was “a burning imperative to forge an army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle”.
Mr Docherty stressed that “for too long the measure of our military capability was about men and vehicles in garrisons, rather than our ability to project power”.
In his urgent question, Mr Ellwood warned “Russia is not losing and Ukraine is not winning”, adding: “The long-term European security is threatened not just by the utility of force, but a wider conflict between the West and growing authoritarianism.”
He also told the Commons: “Britain should lead a coalition of the willing that offers Ukraine the scale of support that it requires and in recognising this new threat picture it does require us to review our own defence posture.”
He went on: “We are overloading our troops with these widening commitments and not replenishing our defence stocks fast enough.
“All three services are now too small to manage the ever greater burden that we are now going to place on them, and those cuts in the 2021 Integrated Review of personnel and military equipment must now be reversed.”
He added: “We can’t do that on a peacetime defence budget of 2.2%, it’s time to upgrade our own defence posture and spending to 3% if we are serious about preventing conflict spreading in Europe.”
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Post source: In The Know