Head of the British Defense Ministry Ben Wallace has called Moscow "the number one threat", when recently reporting on Russian warships' boosted activity off his country's coast. Conspicuous is the fact that Mr. Wallace conveyed his message right ahead of the June G7 summit in the UK to become somewhat a signal of London's resolute desire to mobilize allies against Russia.
"We are regularly visited by curious Russian ships," the British Telegraph newspaper quoted the country's defense minister as saying, who called Russia "the enemy, which is the number one threat." In proof of his statement, Mr. Wallace referred to the December 2020 appearance of Russian Navy ships in the Irish Sea, noting that the UK had not recorded their presence there for "a very, very long time". Having said London did not seek an escalation, Wallace cast the blame for heightened tensions upon Moscow.
Ordinary Britons, according to the Daily Mail, do not really believe their Defense Secretary. Some of them are ironic, others are harsh in their statements: "Instead of the rabble that comes from France, I'd prefer the Russians!" one reader says. "I am more afraid of those who rule our country," another Briton echoes her. "Maybe I'm being cautious, but it doesn't seem to me that provoking the world's largest country with the biggest nuclear arsenal is a sound idea," the third reader says.
Beyond a shadow of doubt, attempts to become Moscow's key opponent made in the year of the United Kingdom's G7 presidency is primarily related to the Global Britain strategy being implemented by Boris Johnson's government. Pursuant to the strategy, London intends to establish a new global role for the country after its last year's divorce with the European Union (Brexit).
According to the Whitehall, British armed forces are meant to play a leading part in the current global strategy. This role is assumed to be associated with the country's engagement in deterring Russia in the North Atlantic and the Arctic on the one hand, and with stepped-up support for the United States' Indo-Pacific policy on the other. Britain looks set to regain its importance as Washington's ally that was largely lost after Brexit, as well as to promote its involvement in Asian politics.
Just for this purpose does the British military command intend to strengthen its aircraft carrier fleet. London makes no bones about it, by the way. As Ben Wallace recently stated, a carrier strike group will write Britain's name into the next chapter of the history of a truly global Britain that comes to the fore to fight tomorrow's challenges, while working closely with its friends, defending shared values, and upholding a rule-based international order. London obviously deems Russia as the primary source of these challenges.
However, methods chosen by London along the Global Britain track are clearly fallacious, I must say. Russia has never threatened anyone, including the UK, and does not intend to, as the Kremlin has repeatedly stated. In particular, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the West is well aware of Moscow's lack of plans to attack anyone, but they use the excuse to deploy more troops next to our country's borders. For instance, Russia has repeatedly expressed concern about the build-up of NATO forces in Europe. Unfortunately, London and its allies turn a deaf ear to Moscow, because throwing the book at Russia is easier than cooperating with it.
It's not the first time that the official British authorities declare Moscow the "number one threat". March this year saw the release of the British Armed Forces modernization strategy, with Russia demonized as a major threat to the country. For this very reason, strategy authors urged building up British military presence in the Black and Baltic Seas. And the British side does put its money where its mouth is. Thus, the UK is actively waging a war of nerves at the Russian maritime borders. The latest example was the May 16 call into the Black Sea by the HMS Trent patrol ship heading for Odessa. Back then, Russia's National Defense Control Center reported that "the forces and means of the Black Sea Fleet have begun to monitor the actions of the British Navy patrol ship Trent."
By repeating the thesis about Moscow's being the "number one threat" not only to Britain alone, but also to its the Euro-Atlantic allies, London expects to attach priority importance to the collective deterrence of Russia during the G7 summit due on June 11 to 13 in the resort town of Carbis Bay on the Cornwall peninsula's Atlantic coast. Moreover, this summit is to see its host offer opening an information front against Russia, with restraints planned to counter Russian "propaganda and misinformation". By the way, following the May session of G7 foreign ministers in the British capital, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab outlined yet another confrontation area – cyberspace.
As we can see, the collective West seeks to "besiege" Russia across the board. But they apparently forget that the more a spring is compressed, the more powerful the blow will be when it hits those who has been squeezing it. It is a pity though that the Western countries are attacking Russia instead of developing a dialogue with it. This primarily refers to the United Kingdom. As head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin said in his last week's interview with the BBC, instead of developing a dialogue, the UK initiates an open confrontation with Russia, which is really sad and there is no rational explanation for such a shortfall policy.
In the same interview, Naryshkin stressed that avoiding mutual uncorroborated allegations would help get relationship between the two countries back on track. It's London's particular feature, let us note. "It's sad, but it's not our choice. We believe that cooperation between our countries for the sake of stability and international security is absolutely necessary," the Foreign Intelligence Service director stated.