Prompted by the news this week that Royal Air Force jets had to intercept two Russian bombers along the Cornish Coast, Britain military leaders have decided to go public with their concerns about the possibility of a Russian military attack.
Oregon Live reported that the flyover and the reaction of the military leaders have created a “panic” in the United Kingdom’s media. On Friday, Britain newspaper, The Independent, headlined with “Britain’s military would be overwhelmed in war against Russia, former defense chiefs warn.”
Although the British government stated that the Russian bombers did not enter U.K. airspace, there is still concern about their presence.
“They fly in these regions to check our air defenses and have probably worked out we are not as sharp as we were,” said former RAF chief Sir Michael Graydon. “I very much doubt whether the U.K. could sustain a shooting war against Russia. We are at half the capabilities we had previously.”
Some Cornish residents disagree with the government’s assessment that U.K. airspace was not compromised. Sue Bamford, a Cornwall resident, said she witnesses “a lot of military aircraft around, but this was like nothing I had seen before. They were flying really low through the St. Mawgan Valley and around Cornwall.” She added, “I know what I saw and I saw the Russian bombers flying over U.K. soil.”
According to NBC News, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on Thursday that other countries should not have the illusion that they can attain military superiority over Russia.
Putin was quoted as saying, “No one should have the illusion that they can gain military superiority over Russia, put any kind of pressure on it. We will always have an adequate answer for any such adventures.”
The Business Insider reported that according to Russian Military Reform reports, as part of its massive goal of military modernization, the country plans to construct and introduce into service 12 new ballistic missile submarines and an additional eight nuclear attack submarines by the 2020s. Russia’s government-owned Krylov State Research Center is rumored to be making advances toward the development of a massive new aircraft carrier that could carry 100 planes.
The report of Putin’s comments came the same day British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said that Putin posed a “real and present danger” to the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all of which are NATO members. Fallon said NATO was preparing to fend off any possible aggression.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the air-defense probing was Putin’s attempt to make “some sort of a point” and that Britain should not “dignify it with too much of a response.”
A recent poll found that a third of Britons would support a military response if Russia expands its Ukraine policy to the Baltic countries.