Multiple sources are now reporting that the war in Ukraine is about to enter a new phase. Speculation is mounting that Ukraine is on the cusp of mounting a strategic counter-offensive in the south with the aim of retaking the Kherson oblast and threatening the Russian occupation of Crimea, which they annexed in 2014.
The report, just published, is highly critical of the Government’s Integrated Defence and Security Review, [published March 2021] & notes that it continues to call for cuts in personnel and vehicles whilst focussing on information and cyber warfare. It makes little sense to reduce the army to 72,000 soldiers and 148 tanks in the face of renewed conventional warfare in Europe. As Chief of the General Staff General Sir Patrick Sanders, Britain’s senior soldier, famously commented recently, “you can’t cyber your way across a river”. Many senior officers say the British army is now too small to be credible in a general war scenario. There seems to be considerable resistance to this from the Treasury.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has proposed that there should be a judge-led inquiry into allegations of illegal killings of Afghan men in Afghanistan in 2010-11 by the SAS. following the Panorama programme “SAS Death Squads Exposed”. I concluded that there is no smoke without fire, and my military colleagues agree. A truly independent inquiry is to be welcomed and will either salvage the SAS’ reputation or bring the perpetrators of any illegal activity or war crimes to justice.