‘Putin doesn’t lie’: Russia poses clear and present threat to UK, government warns

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a BRICS Plus session involving the leaders of several invited states during the 14th BRICS summit - in virtual format via a video call at the Novo-Ogarevo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia on June 24, 2022. (Photo by Mikhail Metzel / Sputnik / AFP) (Photo by MIKHAIL METZEL/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin poses a danger to the UK, the government has warned. (Sputnik/AFP/Getty)

The government has warned that Britain should not underestimate Russian president Vladimir Putin as the Ukraine crisis rages on.

Speaking days after Russian missile strikes targeted Kyiv and a shopping centre in Kremenchuk that left scores dead, defence secretary Ben Wallace said Russia could “lash out” at the UK and its European allies over their ongoing support for Ukraine.

Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday that Russia had already shown they were a threat to the West before the war began.

He said: “Russia has already lashed out. The use of cyber attacks by Russia has grown over the years, we've seen a number of attacks on our systems and our allies’ systems over the years.

“We've seen threats in public from Russia – whether that's nuclear or threats towards countries like Sweden, Lithuania and Poland even.

“This rhetoric is starting to get more directed at different nations.”

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace speaks during the Defence of Europe conference at King's College London in central London. Picture date: Monday May 9, 2022.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said the West should not underestimate threats from Russia. (PA)

When asked whether the UK should be paying a price for Russia’s desire to occupy more of the Donbas, Wallace made parallels with Poland in the Second World War, telling the programme: “I think we should swap your words for Poland in 1939 – ‘Shouldn't we just let the Nazis have a little bit of Poland?’…

“Ukraine is being brutally invaded by a country that plays no rules.”

When asked what threat Putin poses to the UK, Wallace warned that the Russian president has already made threats – and “doesn’t lie”.

Watch: Putin suffering from 'small man syndrome macho view', says Ben Wallace

He added: “The actual threat is that the Russian system has a belief that if it is under threat they will take action against anyone or anybody who pose that threat.

“Their doctrine is not limited to geography or where their battlefield is.

“Secondly, one of the lessons from the last 15 years is people underestimate Putin. They have ignored what he has said publicly and have done so at their peril..

“There is a phrase that goes round that ‘Putin doesn't lie’. Putin has said lots of threats and often carries them out.

KREMENCHUK, POLTAVA PROVINCE, UKRAINE, JUNE 28: Buckets of flowers offered as memorial for the civilian victims are seen in a shopping mall targeted by a missile strike in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, June 28th, 2022. (Photo by Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Bouquets of flowers offered as memorial for the civilian victims are seen in a shopping mall targeted by a missile strike in Kremenchuk, Ukraine. (Anadolu Agency/Getty)
People watch as smoke bellows after a Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping mall, in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, Monday, June 27, 2022. Ukrainian officials say scores of civilians are feared killed or injured after a Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post Monday that the number of victims was
People watch as smoke bellows after a Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine. (AP)

“It’s no good coming on your programme before something happens and say, 'We don't take him seriously’.”

Wallace said that Russia “is not winning in Ukraine”, and has made “metres” of advancement every day “at huge loss”.

The defence secretary earlier said that Putin has “small man syndrome” and a “macho” view of the world and described the Russian leader as a “lunatic”.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 22: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin, on June 22, 2022 in Moscow, Russia. Russians mark the Day of Sorrow and the Remembrance of Victims of World War II at the 81th anniversary of the beginning of German Nazi's invasion into Soviet Union. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin was described as a 'lunatic' by defence secretary Ben Wallace. (Getty)

He told LBC: “Well I certainly think president Putin’s view of himself and the world is a small man syndrome, macho view.”

Wallace added: “But I think the real challenge here is the Russian system’s view that somehow some states are lesser than others, their rights don’t count. If they want to paint themselves into a new history, they seem to think the way to do that is through violence and invasion.

“And I think that’s something to worry about.”

His comments came after Boris Johnson said Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was an example of “toxic masculinity” and a female president would not have made the same mistake.

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