RUSSIA ‘indisputably’ poses a far greater threat to national security than Islamic terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Isil, the new head of the British Army has warned.
General Mark Carleton-Smith said the UK cannot be complacent about the threat Russia poses ‘or leave it uncontested’.
The former SAS commander said Russia had made plain its preparedness to use force to expand its interests, while it had also been ‘systematic’ in its efforts to exploit cyber, space and undersea military arenas.
‘The Russians seek to exploit vulnerability and weakness wherever they detect it,’ he told the Daily Telegraph over the weekend
‘Russia today indisputably represents a far greater threat to our national security than Islamic extremist threats such as al-Qaeda and Isil.’
Gen Carleton-Smith, who graduated from Sandhurst in the final years of the Cold War, took over as chief of the general staff in June.
He led the hunt for Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 terror attacks and later spearheaded Britain's role in the campaign to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Now, with the threat from Islamist groups in the Middle East reduced by years of concerted international military action, the focus needs to shift to Russia, he said.
‘We cannot be complacent about the threat Russia poses or leave it uncontested,’ Gen Carleton-Smith warned.