MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Mark Carleton-Smith, the UK chief of the General Staff, claimed that Russia was a bigger threat to the UK security than the Daesh and al-Qaeda terror groups.
"Russia today indisputably represents a far greater threat to our national security than Islamic extremist threats such as al-Qaeda and Isil[Daesh]," Carleton-Smith said in an interview with The Telegraph newspaper released late on Friday.
The outlet noted, citing the military official, that the threat to the UK security had changed after the defeat of the Daesh in Iraq and Syria and due to the losses that al-Qaeda had sustained in Afghanistan. Thus, London and its allies need to focus on the threat allegedly coming from Russia, according to Carleton-Smith.
"Russia has embarked on a systematic effort to explore and exploit Western vulnerabilities, particularly in some of the non-traditional areas of cyber, space, undersea warfare… We cannot be complacent about the threat Russia poses or leave it uncontested. The most important conventional military response to Russia is the continued capabilities and coherence of the NATO alliance," Carleton-Smith argued.
The Telegraph noted that Carleton-Smith was speaking after visiting UK servicemen deployed to Estonia as part of the NATO group aimed at deterring Russia’s alleged aggression against the Baltic countries. Carleton-Smith took office of the chief of the General Staff last June.
Russia has repeatedly said it did not plan to attack any NATO member. Moscow has suggested that the alleged Russian aggression was used as a pretext by the military alliance to boost its military build-up near the Russian border.
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