Services ‘need cash to counter Russia’

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The UK must invest in the armed forces if it is to remain capable of defending itself from threats like Russia, a defence expert has said.

Professor Malcolm Chalmers, research director at security think tank the Royal United Service Institute, said manpower is ‘most vulnerable’ if further cuts 
are announced in the next budget.

It comes as 75 British troops and military staff prepare to leave for Ukraine to advise and train government forces.

Two Russian bomber planes were escorted away from the UK after flying close to the coast of Cornwall last week, and the navy has escorted Russian ships through the Channel recently.

Statistics from the MoD this month said there is a deficit of 6,100 personnel across all three services compared to the number needed to ‘achieve success in its agreed tasks’.

Mr Chalmers, a special adviser to the government’s National Security Strategy joint committee, said: ‘Events in Ukraine have brought home a great concern about Russia.’

In April 2014 the Royal Navy had 11 submarines and 65 ships with 13 vessels in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service.