EU ‘uncomfortable’ with reality of war as Putin looks to ‘exploit’ West

Vladimir Putin 'trolling' UK with submarines claims expert

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The EU and its member states ignore the realities of war in Europe to the benefit of actors like Mr Putin, Express.co.uk was told. It comes as world leaders met for the G7 summit in Cornwall to address the myriad issues faced on the global political stage. Russia was a big talking point during the discussions.

G7 nations, which include the UK, US, and several European countries demanded Mr Putin take action against those carrying out cyber attacks and using ransomware from within its borders.

Leaders also called on Moscow to “stop its destabilising behaviour and malign activities”, and conduct an investigation into the use of chemical weapons on Russian soil.

Cyber attacks from within Russia’s borders were thrust into the spotlight last month after the US’ Colonial Pipeline, the largest in the country, was targeted.

Another disrupted the North American and Australian operations of meatpacker JBS USA.

No links have been made between the attackers and the Russian state.

However, Professor Julian Lindley-French, an internationally recognised strategic analyst and advisor in defence argues that Russia’s main political goal is to disrupt the West, and exploit situations that give the country an upper hand.

The veteran analyst has recently co-authored the book, ‘Future War’, exploring how the US and Europe might consolidate their military forces in the face of increasing threats from the likes of Russia and China, as well as handling new and cutting edge techniques of conflict.

He claimed that while Russia is serious about causing disarray among Western nations, its closest neighbours in Europe have become averse to the dangers of military threat.

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Prof Lindley-French told Express.co.uk: “Putin is aware that Europeans have become strategically illiterate when it comes to risk of force in international relations.

“So many European leaders simply are wholly uncomfortable with the fact that force still has a part to play in international relations, and deterrents and defence are built upon it.

“Although there have been modest increases in defence budgets since 2014, in relative terms there is still a decline.

“Russia’s not a threat to the likes of Britain, France or Germany because for the big powers, Russia couldn’t conceive of attacking these countries.

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“But at the margins of NATO, or the EU, around the Arctic belt, the Baltic states, through the Black Sea, into the Mediterranean – the margins, Russia could be tempted, if it was in a domestic crisis or on an adventure.

“The EU and its member states are unprepared for war.”

In recent months, Russia has tested the water to gauge the international reaction to its dealings with neighbours.

In April, Mr Putin flooded 100,000 troops onto his country’s border with Ukraine.

Many feared a repeat of 2014 when the country annexed Crimea.

After weeks of tensions, Russia agreed to withdraw its troops, although it is unclear whether all military presence was removed.

Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister, has since announced plans to form 20 new units within the Russian military in the country’s west to counter what he described as a growing threat from NATO.

Mr Shoigu pointed to a growing number of flights by US strategic bombers near Russia’s borders, deployments of NATO warships and increasingly frequent and massive drills by alliance forces.

He charged that such actions “destroy the international security system and force us to take the relevant countermeasures”.

He said: “We will form another 20 units and formations in the Western Military District until the year’s end.”

And he added that the military units in Western Russia have commissioned about 2,000 new pieces of weaponry this year.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden told the G7 summit that although US-Russia relations were at an all-time low, his country was not “looking for conflict”.

In an interview last week, Mr Putin said that while the two countries were not getting along as they had under Donald Trump, he hoped there would not “be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting US President”.

‘Future War and the Defence of Europe’, written by John R. Allen, Frederick Ben Hodges, and Julian Lindley-French, is published by Oxford University Press and out now.

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