Num­ber of Krem­lin subs in UK waters is up ‘ten­fold’

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Larisa Brown

‘Frag­ile de­fence ca­pa­bil­i­ties’

RUS­SIAN sub­ma­rine ac­tiv­ity around Bri­tain’s coast has in­creased ten­fold in the past six years, the new De­fence Sec­re­tary has warned.

Num­bers of sub­marines sent by the Krem­lin to UK waters are now sim­i­lar to the lev­els of the Cold War, Gavin Wil­liamson said.

It comes as for­mer se­nior mil­i­tary com­man­ders warn that Bri­tain’s Armed Forces are ‘close to break­ing’.

Yes­ter­day, the for­mer head of the Royal Navy, Ad­mi­ral Sir Ge­orge Zam­bel­las, told MPs that its anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare ca­pa­bil­ity was ‘in­ad­e­quate’ and his suc­ces­sor was strug­gling with fur­ther cuts.

The UK was forced to call upon the US and Canada to help hunt down a sus­pected Rus­sian sub­ma­rine just last month. Speak­ing about the UK’s arse­nal to deal with the Rus­sian threat, Ad­mi­ral Zam­bel­las said: ‘I think the to­tal of the sum of those parts is in my view in­ad­e­quate for the cur­rent strate­gic risk.’

Gen­eral Sir Richard Bar­rons, the for­mer com­man­der of Joint Forces Com­mand, was among the ex-chiefs to warn that cuts mean the Army is ‘20 years out of date’ and ready to ‘fall over’. He said de­fence was short of £2bil­lion a year and if more money was not spent, the Gov­ern­ment would be re­spon­si­ble for ‘tip­ping the Armed Forces into in­sti­tu­tional fail­ure’.

Lib Dem de­fence spokesman Sir Men­zies Camp­bell said: ‘This scathing crit­i­cism from a top for­mer gen­eral em­pha­sises the in­creas­ingly frag­ile na­ture of Bri­tain’s de­fence ca­pa­bil­i­ties.’

His com­ments came ahead of next week’s Bud­get in which Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond is ex­pected to ig­nore calls to give more money to the MoD.

The MoD said of the sub­ma­rine hunt: ‘We have ro­bust pro­tec­tion in place for our ves­sels and are in­vest­ing £3bil­lion of our ris­ing bud­get into buy­ing nine new P8 air­craft to pa­trol the seas.’

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