The UK's Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, Lt Gen Sir Rob Magowan, has said that the UK could not sustain a fight against Russia for more than two months, according to a report in Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph.

When asked by Mark Francois, a former Armed Forces minister, if it was true that the UK couldn't sustain a full-scale war against Vladimir Putin for more than a couple of months due to a lack of ammunition and equipment reserves, Magowan acknowledged that it was true.

He stated that Britain’s Armed Forces would need to manage the “operational risk” due to the lack of resources he would prefer to have available in potential future conflicts.

This revelation follows a statement made to MPs by UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, that he had advocated for increased defense spending in the recent budget, but was unable to secure additional funds.


During his appearance at the Commons defense committee, Shapps told MPs about the inadequacy of the current expenditure on munitions, stating: “We’ve been very clear that the amount of money we’re spending on munitions at the moment... which is significant... does not meet, in all areas, the threats that we face.”

He mentioned that there was a need to spend more money, above the program of record, on what he called integrated air missile defense.

Shapps said that any potential conflict would likely involve NATO allies, collectively capable of outmatching Russia, rather than the UK acting alone,  however.

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Starmer is expected to tell Zelensky that Britain will do more in the coming months to dent Russia’s “war machine”, including agreeing a new defense export support treaty.

“For people watching, and hearing that the UK isn’t ready for war exclusively with Russia, it’s important to understand that because we are in NATO and [mutual defense agreement] Article 5 exists, we would never be in that situation,” Shapps said.

A recent inquiry by the Commons defense committee revealed that Britain's Armed Forces are “increasingly overstretched” and not adequately prepared for a war with Russia.


The inquiry disclosed the urgent need for reforms to address a recruitment crisis and to significantly increase the country's stockpile of weapons and ammunition to achieve warfighting readiness.

The MPs said that without additional funding, the Armed Forces would struggle to engage in operations while also developing future warfighting readiness.

Former defense chiefs informed the committee that the UK Armed Forces had been “hollowed out” since 2010, and “in a peer-on-peer conflict... would have exhausted their capabilities after the first couple of months of the engagement.”

Magowan maintained that the UK was “ready for war” but admitted it was not fully prepared for a prolonged conflict with Russia.

Concerning the war in Ukraine, Shapps spoke on the importance of drone warfare, saying that drones are both lethal and cost-effective.

He described the war in Ukraine as possibly the first true “drone war” and predicted that future wars would rely heavily on drones.

While drones are lethal, traditional warfare elements such as ammunition remain crucial in any future conflict, Shapps said.

The statement followed French President Emmanuel Macron's recent refusal to dismiss the idea of sending troops to Ukraine, which has caused division among US and European leaders.


Washington has expressed reservations about the suggestion.

“The only US military personnel in Ukraine were with the American embassy in Kyiv ‘doing important work’ on the accountability of weapons provided to Ukraine,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Kirby denied that US troops could be sent for demining, arms production or cyber operations, tasks for which French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne had suggested Western troops might be deployed. He added that it would be a “sovereign decision” for France or any other NATO country to decide to send troops to Ukraine.

Former US ambassadors to NATO, Ivo Daalder and Kurt Volker, support the idea of keeping the option of troop deployment open. They believe it sends a strong signal of support to Ukraine and may help deter further aggression from Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against such deployments, viewing them as a significant escalation that could lead to nuclear war. In an interview with Russian propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov on March 12, Putin said that if the US military were to enter Ukraine, Russia would “treat them as interventionists.”


“Our triad, the nuclear triad, it is more modern than any other triad. Only we and the Americans have such triads. And we have advanced much more here,” Putin said in the wide-ranging interview.

Russia has repeatedly touted its nuclear prowess throughout its two-year full-scale offensive in Ukraine, last month warning Western countries there was a “real” risk of nuclear catastrophe if they escalated the conflict.

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