Russia: Sir Gerald Howarth warns of ‘miscalculation’ risk
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Speaking to talkRADIO on Monday, Former Defence Minister Sir Gerald Howarth seconded comments made by Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter who on Saturday warned there is now a “a greater risk” of an accidental war with Russia than at any time during the Cold War. It comes as chaos has mounted on the Belarus border as President Alexander Lukashenko is believed to be weaponising migrants to destabilise Europe.
Sir Nick Carter went on to added how “escalation leading to miscalculation” was “a real challenge” throughout the current crises.
While Sir Gerald said how he felt there is a “very real risk” of engagement along the Belarus and Polish border with the arrival of Belarussian and Russian soldiers who have been conducting military exercises in the area as a show of force.
On top of this, Belarussian and Russian troops were last week caught on camera using strobe lighting and laser pens pointed at Polish and NATO troops to distract them as they destroyed a section of the border wall.
The Times newspaper also reported how soldiers also gave migrants (who are camped out on the border) teargas to lob over the wall.
JUST IN The policy has led to thousands of migrants being stranded at the Polish border in freezing weather.
The former Defence Secretary went on to stress how a miscalculation of sending NATO soldiers, including 150 British troops, to the border to resolve the chaos could end in war.
He also noted how fears of an invasion of Ukraine by Russia mean any misunderstanding of the migrant crises and the handling of it is of major concern, which he suggested could trigger retaliation by Russia in the Donbass region of Ukraine.
Sir Gerald said: “The circumstances today are very different to the circumstances in the Cold War where there was a clear standoff between the USA… and the Soviet Union.
“Today what we are seeing is a pattern of behaviour by Russia under President Putin.
Belarus: Migrants create makeshift camp at Kuznica border
“That pattern of behaviour for example involves the seizing of Crimea in 2014.”
Sir Gerald also used the example of Russia’s continued use of cyber attacks as another pinch point of relations, which if not managed effectively, could spell chaos.
While he added how this latest episode on the Belarus border, which he said was Russia “using Alexander Lukashenko as a tool to destabilise the west” is yet another area where the West must tread carefully to prevent horror breaking out.
But in a surprising conclusion, Sir Gerald said the West must take a zero tolerance approach to Russia amid the soaring tensions.
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He slammed how it is vital that the West must impress on Russia that “if they do cross the line, then there will be retaliation” as he called on western allies to take a stand against Putin and Lukashenko.
The comments come as the Kremlin has been accused of encouraging Belarus to fly in a new wave of African and Middle Eastern migrants and send them over the border with Poland and the Baltic states. The policy has led to thousands of migrants being stranded at the Polish border in freezing weather.
But President Putin has instead hit back blaming Britian for the migrant crisis.
The comments by President Putin prompted Sir Nick Carter to suggest that Russia was prepared to go to any lengths to undermine western Europe and the US.
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