Russia 'emboldened' by Trump, Brexit and Afghanistan evacuation, says ex-GCHQ boss

11 January 2022, 10:24

By Daisy Stephens

Russia has been "emboldened" by the Trump era, Brexit and the evacuation of Afghanistan, according to former GCHQ Director Professor Sir David Omand.

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The ex-GCHQ boss spoke exclusively to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on Tuesday.

When asked how "emboldened" Russia would be by the Afghanistan evacuation, Sir David said: "That's one element in the calculation.

"They would also be emboldened by the Trump era."

He went on to say: "The division within the United States, which some commentators in the States are actually seeing it as a move potentially towards a secessionist civil war, is a term that some commentators are using.

"It's almost certainly exaggerated.

"But nonetheless the United States is deeply divided, the European Union has been gravely weakened by our Brexit, they're no longer - certainly at the moment - a diplomatic power."

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He said the UK's own security had not been directly undermined by Brexit, but said it made it harder for the country to tackle crime.

"I think we're less well-placed to tackle things like crime, international crime, than we were when we were integrated into the police networks," he said.

"But in terms of our main security, of course, comes from Nato and our membership of Nato.

"And that depends crucially on the United States and Trump, President Trump, as president went out of his way to cast doubt on that."

He also said we should be "very concerned" about Russia's involvement in Ukraine and the UK must stand firm whilst trying to see the world from President Putin's point of view.

"This is one of those moments in history which will shape the next 10, 20, 30 years," he said.

"We have to stand up as democracies for what we believe in... we've got to stand firm but on the other hand we've got to put ourselves in the mind of President Putin to see what is it he really, really wants."

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