The Sunday Telegraph

European nations must pull their weight if Nato is to withstand Russian aggression


SIR – I agree with Mick Ferrie (Letters, April 7): all the indication­s are that Vladimir Putin’s time is running out. The risks are that he will become increasing­ly desperate, and that his successor may well pursue even more irrational and bloodthirs­ty policies.

The future is full of danger for the West, which is significan­tly underprepa­red. The UK’s expenditur­e on defence only barely meets the Nato minimum – with the aid of creative accounting (including pension costs as “expenditur­e” does little to enhance the front line).

If European nations do not pull their weight in the alliance, the United States will become increasing­ly reluctant to make up the balance, and understand­ably so.

Even if a major global war does not come about in the next decade, we must expect asymmetric warfare and unattribut­able acts of sabotage, not least on our offshore installati­ons. We must heed the warnings of previous defence chiefs and government ministers, and act now to restore our Armed Forces’ operationa­l capabiliti­es.

Air Cdre Michael Allisstone Chichester, West Sussex

SIR – We urge ministers to exempt any brave men and women who have fought alongside our Armed Forces or served the British Government overseas from removal to Rwanda under its new scheme.

As former service personnel and those with close connection­s to the Armed Forces, we have seen first-hand the enormous courage and dedication shown by the people who have fought alongside us and served British interests abroad, often at huge personal risk, and we take personally Britain’s obligation to honour the debt we owe to that cohort.

Since its launch in April 2021, the Afghan Relocation­s and Assistance Policy has been mired by mismanagem­ent. The scheme was intended to be a lifeline for brave Afghans who worked alongside British forces, but there is a huge backlog of applicatio­ns. Ministers are also having to look again at the applicatio­ns of Afghan Special Forces that may have been wrongfully decided. All this leaves many individual­s and their families in limbo and at the mercy of the Taliban.

As a result, some Afghans who worked alongside our Armed Forces have been forced to flee with their families. It is essential that those who have made it to British shores are not unduly punished by being removed to Rwanda when the Government’s scheme is up and running.

We therefore urge ministers to accept the amendment to the Safety of Rwanda Bill tabled by Lord Browne of Ladyton, and to honour the Government’s promises to those who have courageous­ly fought and served alongside our troops and personnel abroad. Failure to do so would be a derelictio­n of our moral duty, and would do grave damage to our ability to recruit local allies in future military operations.

Lord Houghton of Richmond (Crossbench)

Former Chief of Defence Staff Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale (Lab) Former Labour Spokespers­on on Foreign Affairs and member of the Intelligen­ce and Security Committee Lord Richards of Herstmonce­ux (Crossbench)

Former Chief of Defence Staff

Lord Dannatt (Crossbench)

Former Chief of General Staff

Lord Sedwill (Crossbench)

Former National Security Adviser and Ambassador to Afghanista­n

Rory Stewart

Former Internatio­nal Developmen­t Secretary and seven others; see

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