Alarming threat from Russian warship highlights problems with Defence cuts


It was revealed earlier this week that Great Britain faced an aggressive threat from a Russian warship, loaded with surface to air missiles and guns capable of firing 40kg shells for 18 miles, over the Christmas period.

It is believed the Russian warship came within 30 miles of the Scottish coast as part of a calculated test of Britain’s reduced naval capacity. The Royal Navy HMS Defender, which was docked in Portsmouth, alarmingly took 24 hours to make the 600 mile journey to Moray Firth to confront the ship in a tense stand-off. Russian expert, Jonathan Eyal, has stated that Russia had intended to intimidate Britain in order to show a presence in the North Sea and compete with world powers.

The threat is the latest incident following the Ministry of Defence’s cuts. Redundancies have been made and budgets slashed, but haven’t we seen this pattern too often? After most major conflicts the government has made cuts to the top end of the military and led a recruitment drive for the lower ranks. We lose knowledge and experience and become vulnerable to threats and attacks, such as that faced from the Russians. What will it take for the Ministry of Defence to take note?

Whilst establishing a European Rapid Reaction Force failed between 2003 and 2010, perhaps it is time to give serious thought to creating a European Defence Force, in the interests of protecting Great Britain against the biggest threat of all; our own Ministry of Defence and their cuts.

by Hannah Ashcroft, Trainee Solicitor at Hilary Meredith Solicitors