British soldiers must get ready to fight Russia in Third World War, army chief warns

19 June 2022, 10:05 | Updated: 19 June 2022, 10:07

General Sir Patrick Sanders has said British troops must prepare "to fight in Europe once again".
General Sir Patrick Sanders has said British troops must prepare "to fight in Europe once again". Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The new head of the British Army's told his troops they must prepare to fight the Russian army in a potential World War Three.

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General Sir Patrick Sanders took over from General Sir Mark Carleton Smith on Monday and wrote to his charges about the challenges they face.

He told British soldiers they are the generation that must prepare "to fight in Europe once again" as the conflict in Ukraine continues.

"There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle," Sir Patrick said.

"We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again," he added.

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He said Russia's invasion underlines the army's "core purpose to protect the UK" and it has led to a "new era of insecurity".

According to The Sun, the warning came in his first speech since he became Chief of the General Staff this month, taking overall control of the British Army.

General Sanders added: "I am the first Chief of the General Staff since 1941 to take command of the Army in the shadow of a land war in Europe involving a continental power.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underlines our core purpose — to protect the UK by being ready to fight and win wars on land.”

It comes after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned from Kyiv, warning we need to prepare for a long war.

After visiting Kyiv, Boris Johnson said Vladimir Putin's invasion is "entering a new phase" and if Russian advances are successful he "would not stop at dismembering Ukraine".

Writing in The Times, Mr Johnson said: "I am afraid that we need to steel ourselves for a long war, as Putin resorts to a campaign of attrition, trying to grind down Ukraine by sheer brutality.

"The UK and our friends must respond by ensuring that Ukraine has the strategic endurance to survive and eventually prevail."

"Everything will depend on whether Ukraine can strengthen its ability to defend its soil faster than Russia can renew its capacity to attack," he added.

"Our task is to enlist time on Ukraine's side."

General Sir Patrick Sanders, the new head of the British Army.
General Sir Patrick Sanders, the new head of the British Army. Picture: Alamy

There are growing fears that Vladimir Putin could launch an attack on one of Britain's NATO allies.

Russia has threatened to strike British targets in Nato territory because it is supplying weapons to Ukraine.

Moscow's defence ministry said any backing from London for Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil would invite a "proportional response".

According to the UN, more than 4,200 civillians have been killed since the invasion began in February and more than 7 million people have fled the country.