NATO intervention in Ukraine may trigger 'nuclear exchange' ex-army commander warns

26 February 2022, 09:43

By Seán Hickey

This former British army commander tells LBC that UK and NATO troops should stay out of the Ukrainian conflict to avoid a 'major escalation'.

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Street fighting has broken out in Kyiv as Ukrainian and Russian forces have clashed in a number of major cities in Ukraine.

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has intensified since Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Donbas and Donetsk earlier in the week for "peacekeeping" missions.

Former Black Rod and British Army commander General David Leakey CBE joined Andrew Castle to assess the current situation. He argued that the resilience of the Ukrainian people could result in a retreat by Russia.

"If enough of them make life uncomfortable for the Russians, they'll go." He warned however, that Putin could escalate if he meets resistance, and will "brutalise" Ukrainian people to occupy the nation.

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"Given that he can poison people with Novichok in Salisbury, what he can do to the Ukrainian people doesn't bear thinking about."

General Leakey stressed there should be no suggestion that NATO troops get involved in the conflict: "The one thing that the government should absolutely not do is put boots on the ground in Ukraine."

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He warned that NATO troops inside Ukraine would trigger a "major escalation" in the conflict, and "that escalation leads all the way up to nuclear exchange, potentially."

Vladimir Putin knows that going further than Ukraine risks triggering the same major escalation, General Leakey noted, concluding that the Russian President doesn't want to kickstart a "much, much greater conflict" either.