Russian military edge over UK is dangerous and should be addressed


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Russian willingness to invest heavily in military capability necessitates improvements in British defence capacity

A leaked report covered in The Times indicates that Russia has acquired a significant military edge over the UK. This state of affairs was inevitable; Russia, in spite of its ailing economy, has chosen to repeatedly invest heavily in military capability, successive UK governments have chosen otherwise.

This is extremely unwise given Russia’s demonstrable willingness to annexe foreign territory, their willingness to use bellicose domestic propaganda to shore up political support for the regime, and the massive uncertainty as to what kind of leadership will succeed Vladimir Putin.

Dr Andrew Foxall, Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, said: “The revelations that Russia has a “significant capability edge” over UK forces should come as no surprise. Vladimir Putin has long ploughed significant resources into his country’s military in an attempt to restore Russia’s ‘superpower’ status, and since 2008 the country has undertaken a military modernisation effort on a scale not seen in the West in over a generation. This has occurred at the same time that the UK’s military capabilities have been hollowed out, by successive governments.

“There is not only a gap in capability between Russia and the UK, there is also a gap in worldview. The UK has spent much of the past decade fighting counterinsurgency operations, believing that state-on-state conflict was a thing of the past. Russia, by contrast, has been developing various methods to outgun NATO, including state-on-state conflict, counterinsurgency operations, and hybrid warfare. And Russia is practising these methods in Ukraine and Syria.

“The lesson to take from this is that no matter how unlikely direct military confrontation between the UK and Russia may seem, while it is possible Russia will prepare for it.”


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