Military supplies have been poured in to support Kyiv’s push back against Russia’s assault, something Lord Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff from 2006 to 2009, supports. However, he warns rising tensions could see the manifestation of World War 3.
Lord Dannatt told Jeremy Vine: “I think an external observer would probably comment that as we have increased the weaponry that we have given to Ukraine, first from anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, and now long-range artillery, which is absolutely right to do.
“Armoured vehicles, that’s absolutely right to do as well.
“Are we going down a slippery path that could take us into a more general war to be overdramatic, or very dramatic into World War Three?!”
It comes as Russia’s defence ministry accused the UK of “direct provocation”, warning of a “proportional response” if it continues, hinting at possible strikes at British sites in Kyiv.
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Moscow’s threat of a “proportional response” against Britain for backing Ukrainian strikes behind Russian lines is “unlawful”, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has warned.
He said Vladimir Putin’s regime is only adding to its “pariah status” by threatening other countries, including by shutting off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.
The Kremlin has been angered by Armed Forces Minister James Heappey saying it is “completely legitimate” for Ukraine to strike strategic targets on Russian soil.
Mr Raab, who is also Justice Secretary, told Sky News: “The Russian statement is unlawful and what we’re doing is lawful, we’re entitled, all states are entitled to provide military support to any state exercising the right of lawful defence against an aggressive invasion.
“Frankly if Russia starts threatening other countries it only adds further to their pariah status and will only further the solidarity and consensus in the international community that they must be stopped.”
Mr Heappey had argued it was “not necessarily a problem” even if Ukrainians used British-donated weapons to strike Russia in its own territory “to disrupt the logistics that if they weren’t disrupted would directly contribute to death and carnage on Ukrainian soil”.
According to the Interfax news agency, the Russian defence ministry said: “We would like to stress that the direct provoking by London of the Kyiv regime into such activities, should there be an attempt to realise them, will immediately lead to our proportional response.”
A statement reportedly added that Russian forces are primed to “deliver retaliatory strikes using long-range high-accuracy weaponry” against “centres taking relevant decisions” in the Ukrainian capital.
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“The advisers from among the subjects of one of the Western countries that are located in Ukrainian decision-making centres in Kyiv will not necessarily be a problem when Russia decides to take retaliatory action,” the ministry said.
While the Russian statement did not make clear its possible target, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced diplomats will return to the British embassy in Kyiv this week.
Meanwhile, officials in Poland and Bulgaria said Moscow is cutting off natural gas deliveries over their refusal to meet Putin’s demands to pay in rubles.