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UK says no ‘significant change’ in Russia’s nuclear posture

By AFP
28 February 2022   |   9:24 am
The UK government has seen no major change to Russia's nuclear posture despite President Vladimir Putin placing his strategic forces on higher alert, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday.

Britain’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace arrives in Downing Street to attend a cabinet meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London, Britain, November 3, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files

The UK government has seen no major change to Russia’s nuclear posture despite President Vladimir Putin placing his strategic forces on higher alert, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday.

“We’ve looked at their posture. There isn’t a significant change,” he said on LBC radio, accusing Putin of trying to “flex muscles” with his invasion of Ukraine bogged down.

Wallace said he had assured his 12-year-old son: “No, we’re not going to have a nuclear war.

“What I’ve said to him is, look, President Putin is dealing at the moment in a rhetoric, he wants to distract from what’s gone wrong in Ukraine, and he wants us all to be reminded that he has a nuclear deterrent.”

But Britain, France and the United States had their own nuclear deterrence available, Wallace stressed: “It’s kept us safe for decades. It is a deterrent by definition and design.”

The minister said the progress of Russia’s advance into Ukraine was deteriorating, telling BBC radio in a separate interview: “There are many reports of Russians either sort of deserting or surrendering.

“Because they are confused as much as anyone why they are engaged in a war with people they’re probably related to.”