Russian Ambassador Dismisses Warnings of War with UK
Russia’s ambassador to London has dismissed warnings of a potential war between Moscow and the UK, accusing British “idealogues” of trying to escalate hype around the Ukraine crisis into fueling a wider conflict, for which he sees no underlying basis.
“We have a problem with Ukraine, which ideologues here are trying to expand into a pan-European one. But this is completely wrong. There is no such pan-European problem, and the development of Europe does not depend on what will happen next in Ukraine. We have a problem with the Ukrainian government, and we must solve it.”
Warnings from UK Officials
Kelin’s comments come two weeks after UK Chief of the General Staff Patrick Sanders warned of war with Russia and suggested that British civilians should be trained and equipped for a potential call-up to fight. Although UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insisted that there are no plans to conscript new troops, the British general was just one of several European military and political leaders who have warned their citizens in recent weeks of a possible war with Russia.
UK Defense Minister Grant Shapps went so far as to predict that the West would fight a global conflict with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea within five years.
A Tool for Scare Tactics
Kelin called such talk a “trick” that some British defense officials have used to scare Russia and manipulate their taxpayers. “Any military man who said something like that — be it British, Norwegian or German — is, of course, busy trying to get money for his armed forces, for his army. Here, they need to try to put pressure on public opinion, which in their opinion should forget about social spending, spending on education, subsidies, and give more to defense.”
UK Military Challenges
The problem is especially acute in the UK, the diplomat added, because the British army has shrunk to less than 76,000 troops, its smallest force since the Napoleonic wars. Kelin added that calls to boost defense spending face an uphill battle because there’s “no money left” in the UK budget.
The ambassador acknowledged that diplomatic relations with the UK and other Western countries are at a “crisis” level, but he sees no threat of severing ties with the British. “This is important now, especially in such a difficult, tense political situation, to maintain the functioning of embassies, first of all, in both capitals and to maintain dialogue,” Kelin said. He added that history shows diplomatic ties are much easier to break off than to restore. “Embassies in any country are always eternal, except in cases of war, of course. We are not at war with Great Britain.”