Russia acting like Germany before outbreak of world wars – Cameron
Published 31/07/2014 | 02:30
BRITAIN'S ability to deal with an aggressive Russia has been "seriously degraded in recent years" and the Ukraine crisis should be a "wake-up call" to Nato, MPs will warn today.
The crisis represents a "game-changer" for Britain's defence policy and shows that its armed forces not only must deal with terrorists from failed states, but also "focus on the defence of Europe against Russia".
The Commons defence select committee published its report as British Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain needed to make a stand but was not going to start World War III over Russia's involvement in Ukraine.
Mr Cameron, compared Russia's behaviour in Ukraine to Germany's before the outbreaks of the First and Second World Wars.
He said the West had to draw a line or Russia would start to put similar pressure on EU countries on the eastern fringes of the continent such as Romania.
He added that fresh sanctions against Russia were part of an effort by the West to ratchet up the pressure on President Vladimir Putin and force him to change course.
But Britain was "not about to launch a European war", he said. "We are not about to send the fleet to the Black Sea."
Relations between Russia and the West were already at their lowest since the end of the Cold War, but have deteriorated since 298 people were killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down on July 17 by a missile thought to have been fired by Russian separatists.
Moscow said yesterday that a wave of new European and American sanctions announced on Tuesday targeting Russia's economy would drive up EU energy prices and hurt the bloc's economy as much as Russia.
The UK's defence select committee said Russian actions in the Ukraine crisis, where it is accused of supplying men, equipment, firepower and guidance to separatists, have "raised the prospect, however unlikely, of a Russian attack on a Nato member state".
Rory Stewart, chairman of the committee, said: "The risk of attack by Russia on a Nato member state, whilst still small, is significant. We are not convinced that Nato is ready for this threat."
The head of the trade body for the world's airlines said intelligence agencies must share information about conflict zones to prevent tragedies.
Tony Tyler, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association, said governments had a "moral responsibility" to help airlines assess potential threats.
He spoke after a meeting of industry leaders and UN officials, convened in response to the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines flight, with the aim of ending confusion over which war zones are safe to cross. (© Daily Telegraph, London)