Boris Johnson, in turn, calls on Western allies to prepare for a long war in Ukraine.
Britain’s challenge is to create an army capable of defeating Russia on the battlefield, General Patrick Sanders, the new head of the country’s General Staff, said, the Independent newspaper writes on Sunday, June 19.
“Now it is imperative to create an army that can fight alongside our allies and defeat Russia in combat,” Sanders wrote to his subordinates after he replaced General Mark Carlton Smith as head of the British General Staff earlier in the week.
According to Sanders, the Russian invasion of Ukraine highlights the main goal of the British army – “to protect the UK by being ready to fight and win wars on land.”
“We are the generation that must again prepare the army for war in Europe,” he added.
Sanders recalled that he was the first Chief of Staff since 1941 to take command of an army against the backdrop of a war in Europe involving a continental power.
In 2021, the government in London published plans to reduce the regular army, reducing the target strength from 82,000 to 72,500 by 2025, The Independent notes. At that time, the British regular army consisted of about 76,500 soldiers, the newspaper writes.
Prime Minister Johnson urges to prepare for a long war
On the eve of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson published an article in the Sunday Times newspaper, in which he said that “Putin’s grandiose imperial plan for the complete conquest of Ukraine has failed.”
“Alas, Putin’s failures don’t mean he has the wisdom to back down. In his isolation, he still thinks total conquest is possible. I’m afraid we need to prepare for a long war as Putin resorts to a campaign of attrition in an attempt to brutally wipe out Ukraine from face of the earth,” Johnson wrote.
According to him, the outcome of the war will depend on whether Ukraine can strengthen its defense faster than Russia can build up its capacity to attack.
Johnson on four steps to help Ukraine
The British prime minister also listed four steps the allies should take to help Ukraine end the war on Kyiv’s terms. First, Johnson writes, it is necessary to transfer new weapons to Ukraine faster than Russia can build up its capabilities.
This also applies to the training of Ukrainian soldiers. Britain and its allies plan to train up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days, Johnson said.
The second point is financial assistance to Kyiv, designed to “preserve the viability of the Ukrainian state.” The funds must be transferred to pay salaries, manage institutions and begin the reconstruction of the country’s infrastructure, the head of the British government is sure.
Thirdly, it is necessary to establish alternative routes for Ukrainian exports instead of Russian-blocked ports in the Black Sea. Fourth, the Allies must achieve the unblocking of these ports.
“All this will require a determined effort on the part of the UK and our allies that will last for months and years,” Johnson concluded.