Uk defense minister: "Mr Putin is as great a threat to Europe as Islamic State" | "You have jets being flown up the English Channel and you have submarines in the north sea, it looks to me like the cold war it's warming up"

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Nato is getting ready to fight back against Russian aggression as it poses a ‘real and present danger’ to the Baltic States, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said yesterday.
He told of the threat to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as Vladimir Putin continues to ‘test us’ by deploying submarines and warplanes near British territory.
Warning of a new Cold War, he also said the UK must renew Britain’s nuclear capabilities as Russia steps up its own defences – but denied suggestions of an arms race. 

 Speaking from Sierra Leone, where he was congratulating British troops on their work at defeating Ebola, he said: ‘Putin is testing us.
‘The Russian defence spending is clearly worrying. Russia is modernising their conventional forces, they are modernising their nuclear forces and they are testing Nato so we need to respond.’
Mr Putin is as great a threat to Europe as the Islamic State, he said, adding: ‘We’ ve got to be ready for both. They are both very direct threats to Europe.’

 He said he was worried that Russia could use the same subversive techniques which they used to annex Crimea in the Baltic States, including Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
He added: ‘It is a very real and present danger, he (Mr Putin) has been testing Nato all last year.
‘If you look at the number of flights, maritime activity… he flew two Russian bombers down the English Channel two weeks ago suddenly on a Wednesday morning. We had to scramble the jets very quickly to see them off.’

 In response to the fears, the UK will send troops to eight different sites across Eastern Europe and is creating a Nato ‘spearhead’ force lead by 1,000 British troops, ready to be deployed within 48 hours.
His comments come after a Russian warship was intercepted by the Royal Navy this week as it strayed close to the UK while passing through the English Channel.

 The vessel – equipped with missiles, anti-aircraft guns and torpedoes – was monitored and escorted by a heavily-armed British frigate.
The Secretary of State said: ‘We don’t want a war with Russia.’
But asked if we could defeat Russia if there was a war, he said: ‘Nato has to be ready for any kind of aggression with Russia whatever form it takes. Nato’s getting ready.’
America have accused Russia of violating a ceasefire agreed between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders last week as fighting has raged around the key strategic rail hub of Debaltseve.
Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, said it was ‘ironic to say the least’ that Russia had produced the motion at the same time as it was ‘backing an all-out assault’ in Ukraine.
A Ukrainian military spokesman said the rebels had launched five artillery strikes on Debaltseve overnight, ‘grossly violating the peace accords.’
Referring to ‘Minsk 1’, a ceasefire agreement made between Russian and the Ukraine in September which failed, Mr Fallon said: ‘I’m worried about Putin, Minsk 2 looks to be like Minsk 1.
‘There’s no effective control of the border. I’m worried about his pressure on the Baltics, the way he is testing Nato – the submarines and the aircraft.’
He said if the peace deal collapsed, then Britain will renew its economic sanctions against Russia and review the ‘non-lethal’ equipment the country has been supplying to the Ukraine.

 Asked if Britain was facing another Cold War, he said: ‘It looks pretty warm to me and it’s warming up.
‘You have tanks and armour rolling across the Ukrainian border and you have an Estonian border guard who has been captured and not yet returned.
Nato has to be ready for any kind of aggression with Russia whatever form it takes. Nato’s getting ready
Michael Fallon, Defence Secretary
‘You have jets being flown up the English Channel and you have submarines in the north sea- it looks to me like it's warming up.’
He said he was ‘outraged’ by Russia flying Bear Bombers south of Bournemouth a few weeks ago, adding: ‘It is the first time since the height of the Cold War that has happened and it just shows you, you need to respond each time he does something like that.’
‘People are more worried about the defence of the UK than they have (been) for a long time’, he said, saying it would be ‘foolhardy’ to get rid of Trident at a time of heightened tensions.
Asked if there was a danger the UK was going back to a nuclear arms race with Russia, he added: ‘We are not investing in a new type of Trident, we are simply replacing the submarines that are coming to the end of their life with four new ones.’

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