Russia would be 'literally insane' to start war with Nato, minister claims

A Government minister has said Russia would be ‘literally insane’ to start a war with Nato.

Chris Philp also likened yesterday’s missile strike on a Ukrainian shopping centre to a terror attack, branding it ‘sickening and appalling’.

The technology minister’s comments follow an intervention by the head of the army – who suggested the current situation is like the build-up to the second world war.

Asked about Chief of the General Staff General Sir Patrick Sanders’ position, Mr Philp told Sky News: ‘I think that refers to the fact we need to do everything we can to support Ukraine.

‘We don’t want to see an escalation into a wider conflict.

‘I think Russia would be literally insane to attempt to do that, because Nato is a far larger and a far stronger bloc.’

Yet that is a far cry from General Sir Patrick’s position.

‘This is our 1937 moment’, the army leader is is expected to say later today.

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‘We are not at war but must act rapidly so that we aren’t drawn into one through a failure to contain territorial expansion.’

It comes after Vladimir Putin’s forces bombed the shop in Kremenchuk, killing at least 18 and prompting international condemnation.

Mr Philp compared it to an ‘act of terrorism’, as he pointed to UK efforts to support Ukraine in the war.

Ukrainian officials have again been pleading for further military support from western allies, as Russia’s slow advance through the Donbas region continues.

Elsewhere, Mr Philp insisted that the Government is committed to the British armed forces.

He was asked about reports that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has asked Boris Johnson to raise UK defence spending to 2.5% of GDP – an additional 20% a year – by 2028, amid the war in Ukraine.

‘Obviously ministers, secretaries of state across Government, make representations to the prime minister and the chancellor around their own budget and they’ll get properly considered at the time of a spending review’, Mr Philp said.

‘But this is a Government that is committed to our armed forces. That is why we’re above that 2% level.’

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