British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has said that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine at any time, despite repeated assurances from Moscow that it does not pose a threat to any country.
According to the Sunday Times, Wallace said on Saturday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was “very likely” and that Russia could launch an “attack at any time.”
The British Secretary of Defense warned that in case of escalation, NATO will expand its forces along the Russian border and the allies will increase military spending.
“Maybe (Russian President Vladimir Putin) can just turn off his tank engines and we can all go home, but there is a smell of Munich in the air,” Wallace said.
The British defense minister traveled to Moscow on Friday and met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu. Wallace said the talks were “constructive and honest” and urged Moscow to de-escalate tensions on the Ukrainian border. For his part, Shoigu said after the meeting that the level of Russia-Britain relations was close to zero and that it was necessary to stop the deterioration of relations between Russia and NATO.
In recent months, the West and Kiev have been accusing Moscow of mobilizing troops near the Ukrainian border to prepare for an “invasion.” Moscow has denied the allegations, repeatedly saying it does not pose a threat to anyone, while expressing concern about NATO military activity near the Russian border, which it considers a threat to its national security.
Russia has said it has the right to move troops into its territory and has warned Western countries that military aid to Kiev could encourage it to use it against separatists in southeastern Ukraine (Donbas).
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