Dominic Raab denies taking foreign donations from Russia
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Chief of the Defence Staff General Nicholas Carter also said Russia’s development of advanced and powerful weapons was concerning the UK. This, General Carter made clear, was forcing the UK Government and armed forces to be on guard to emerging threats from Moscow.
General Carter also said there was an “era of consistent competition” with authoritarian powers like Russia.
The UK military chief said the Kremlin’s advances in submarine technologies and deep undersea capabilities was a “major security concern” for Western allies.
Addressing a US event, he also made clear the UK “need to be thinking hard about … capability and deterrence” in the North Atlantic, where operating conditions are difficult.
He added: “Here I would mention Russia, which, from our point of view, poses a serious threat, and China, which is a chronic systemic challenge for us.
“There is no doubt that we should pursue a course of containment [with Russia].”
His comments come after a former British spy said he had evidence of Russian hostilities against Britain, including during the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Christopher Steele spied in Moscow in the 1990s and is understood to have been one of Britain’s most senior intelligence officers in Russia as the Soviet Union collapsed.
He was believed to be a senior intelligence officer for 25 years and also authored a dossier that alleged collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.
The former US President has dismissed the Russian dossier as a “hoax” and denied colluding with Moscow while the UK Government said they had no involvement in producing the dossier.
Asked if he ever uncovered evidence of hostile operations against Britain, he told Sky News in a rare TV appearance: “Yes”.
He continued: “Everything from corrupt leadership money being brought onshore and invested in strategic industries and the like, which is something of concern, to potential attempts to fund parts of the Brexit campaign and interference in that, [the] Scottish referendum, some evidence of interference in that as well.
“That I regard as hostile behaviour, and certainly we came across that from time to time.”
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When pressed on the evidence he had gathered, Mr Steele said: “I don’t have it to hand, but clearly some of the same playbook that we saw – so money being moved through deniable channels and coming out the other end, technically legal.
“There was a whole load of loopholes.”
Mr Steele also alleged Russia posed a risk to wider unity of the European Union, adding: “I think they think they could possibly collapse the EU.”
Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson declined to comment on the remarks.
It comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said now relations between Moscow and London are “at the freezing point.”
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