Vladimir Putin ‘trolling’ UK with submarines claims expert
It comes as a security official from the country this week claimed Moscow used its navy and air force to expel a British warship, HMS Dragon, from what he described as Russian territorial waters near Russian-annexed Crimea last October. Mr Putin annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 after storming the region with military forces. The move drew sanctions and condemnation from countries in the West.
A similar but less hostile scene occurred earlier this year after Russia piled its western border with Ukraine with 100,000 soldiers.
Things have since calmed down.
However, Professor Julian Lindley-French, an internationally recognised strategic analyst and advisor in defence, said he feared Russia was reaching a point where it would feel pressured into “losing or using” the vast military capabilities it has amassed over the decades.
The veteran analyst has recently co-authored a book, ‘Future War’, exploring how the US and Europe might consolidate their military forces in the face of increasing threats from the likes of Russia and China, as well as handling new and cutting edge techniques of conflict.
WW3: Vladimir Putin is reaching a point where he will ‘use of lose’ his military arsenal
HMS Dragon: A Russian security personnel claimed the country had pushed HMS Dragon out of its waters
The Russian Armed Forces is one of the largest military operations in the world, comprising around one million active duty personnel.
It also has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, with its 2020 budget listed at around $61.7 billion (£43bn).
Such is the extent of Russia’s forces that Prof Lindley-French told Express.co.uk: “One of the things that concerns me about the Russia armed forces and the Russia build up at the moment is that they’ve invested a huge amount of resources in building and modernising their armed forces.
“But the thing about modernising armed forces is that there comes a point when they’re modern, and there comes a point when they’re obsolescent.
Russian forces: A Russian ship pictured at sea; the country has a huge naval presence
“For an autocracy like Russia the temptation is always to use the force when it’s at its peak, and that’s that threat that we’re moving towards the climax of the Russia military modernisation programme.
“The temptation will be at some point to use it or lose it because the West will respond, and when we respond we will always be more capable of developing modern armed forces.”
At the border with Ukraie, despite Mr Putin’s announcement he was planning on pulling back, Russian soldiers and military hardware remained stationed well into mid-May.
The pile-up of forces took place against the backdrop of increased fighting in Ukraine’s troubled eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
EU shooting itself in foot with project – MEP breaks cover to admit… [REPORT]
China’s ownership and control over German companies MAPPED [INSIGHT]
Britain told to team up with Swiss to halt ‘petty’ Brussels bullies [ANALYSIS]
Russia news: Putin spends tens of billions each year on Russia’s defence forces
Crimea: Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014
There, government forces have battled allegedly Russian-backed forces since rebels seized territory in April 2014.
As part of the soft aggression, Russian military units also conducted exercises in the Black Sea region of Crimea.
The country has more recently pitted itself against the UK through its aid given to Belarus after President Alexander Lukashekno was accused of hijacking a Ryanair flight with opposition activist and journalist Roman Protasevich onboard.
Sanctions have since been placed on Belarus, in addition to those given in 2004.
Putin profile: Putin assumed office in 2012 and is expected to continue in the role for years
Future War: The book explores the future war threats Europe and the US face
Russia has defended Belarus, with analysts suggesting Moscow stands to benefit from Belarus’ further estrangement from the West.
The country described the uproar over the flight being apprehended as “shocking” and accused the West of having double standards.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook on Monday: “It is shocking that the West calls the incident in Belarusian airspace ‘shocking’.”
Alexander Lukashekno: The Belarusian President on Putin’s yacht at the Black Sea resort of Sochi
Russia has since given President Lukashenko two $500million (£352m) loans.
Mr Putin and Lukashenko are currently engaged in talks, with the Russian leader having treated him to a yacht tour in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Saturday.
‘Future War and the Defence of Europe’, written by John R. Allen, Frederick Ben Hodges, and Julian Lindley-French, is published by Oxford University Press and out now.