16:49 GMT25 February 2021
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    LONDON (Sputnik) - UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson accused Russia of aggressive actions, using the "Russian threat" narrative as an argument to call on UK government to increase funding for the Royal Navy modernization.

    "Look at Russia’s resurgence under President Putin, its submarine activity has increased ten-fold in the North Atlantic. But that’s not all. In 2010, the Royal Navy had to respond once to a Russian Navy ship approaching UK territorial waters. Last year we had to respond 33 times It goes to show the increasing aggression, the increasing assertiveness of Russia, and how we have to ensure we give the right support to our Royal Navy in order to give them the tools to do the job and keep Britain safe," Williamson said on Thursday, speaking at the Sea Power conference in Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London.

    In February, Williamson, who is known for his anti-Russian statements, underlined the need to modernize the country's air forces, explaining it by the need to counter threats coming from Russia.

    Earlier in January, a high-ranking source in UK parliament told Sputnik that UK Defence Ministry would complete work on a program to modernize the armed forces by summer.

    Williamson had a polemic with the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond in last few months, insisting on the inadmissibility of reducing defense spending. Hammond pointed to the possible 20-billion-pounds ($26.8-billion) defense budget deficit over the next ten years, if costs are not cut.

    Due to the dispute between the two ministers, the publication of a new National Security Strategy, which was expected to be completed by the end of 2017. was delayed. At the same time, Williamson regularly uses the "Russian threat" narrative to explain the need for military spending.


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