DN - Defence Notes

Russia lashes out at UK’s Gavin Williamson

26th January 2018 - 16:10 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Moscow

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Russia on 26 January said the British Defence Secretary had stepped beyond ‘the boundaries of reason’ after he accused Moscow of planning to create chaos in the UK that could ‘cause thousands and thousands of deaths’.

Britain’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson made the unusually alarmist comments in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, in which he also said Russia was spying on the UK's critical infrastructure.

Igor Konashenkov, Russian defence ministry spokesman, said: ‘The minister's fear of Russia photographing electric power plants or studying the routes of British gas pipelines is like something out of a children's comic or the show 'Monty Python's Flying Circus.’

The location of electric power plants and pipelines were as secret as ‘Westminster Abbey or Big Ben,’ the spokesman said.

Konashenkov added: ‘If these statements are an attempt by Wilson to attract attention to himself, he will be far from the first defence minister to try to score political points by playing up the Russian threat to the British.’

The strongly worded statement suggested Britain's military staff be ‘recertified’ by the medical board if they were giving Williamson such information.

The interview was more likely an attempt to boost the defence ministry's budget, Konashenkov added.

Williamson, who only became defence chief in November after his predecessor Michael Fallon resigned over allegations of misconduct, gave the interview at the outset of a new five-month defence review.

According to British reports, he is pressuring Finance Minister Philip Hammond to allocate more money to defence and scrap further cuts to Britain's strained armed forces.

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