Nato must be prepared for 'worst case scenario' over Ukraine conflict, warns ex-general

25 April 2022, 18:46 | Updated: 25 April 2022, 18:55

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A former Nato general has said the alliance needs to be ready for the "worst case" scenario as the war between Russia and Ukraine shows no sign of reaching a conclusion.

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Sir Richard Shirreff, who served as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe between 2011 and 2014, told Tonight with Andrew Marr Nato needs to "change its mindset to ensure it is ready for the worst case".

Andrew said the war is "looking at a very long, drawn out conflict now, not something that's over this year or next".

Sir Richard agreed, saying Nato now needs to be doing two things.

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"Number one it's got to be preparing itself for the worst case in order to take risk, which it is doing... but I think it probably needs to be able to take more risk," he said.

"Ultimately, Nato needs to think about the position of Ukraine and how best to guarantee Ukraine's security in the longer term, and these are some pretty profound implications for the alliance."

Andrew pointed out that the West is "tiptoeing into a situation where it is more than a proxy war between Nato and Russia, providing heavier and heavier munitions".

He said there was concern, "without meaning to", there could beĀ "full scale war with Russia".

Sir Richard replied: "This is why I say Nato's got be go in with eyes wide open and as I say the very first thing Nato needs to do and it hasn't begun to do this yet is change its mindset to ensure it is ready for the worst case.

"Frankly a deployment of 40,000 troops of the Nato response force is a good start but it's not what needs to be done.

"There needs to be a fundamental reappraisal of strategy, defence capability, mobilisation, rearmament, regeneration of armed forces across the Nato alliance."

It comes as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in the 61 days since they launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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Mr Wallace also told MPs more than 2,000 of Russia's armoured vehicles have either been destroyed or captured as he outlined further UK support to Ukraine to help defend its territory.

With Russia switching its attention to further occupying the Donbas region in the south east, the cabinet minister confirmed a "small number" of Stormer armoured vehicles fitted with anti-air missile launchers will be gifted to Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin "must not be allowed to prevail", he added.