Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
alert-–-sas-hero-chris-ryan-and-former-intelligence-colonel-blast-trump-adviser’s-claim-that-ukraine-war-is-‘europe’s-problem’-–-saying-statement-will-only-’embolden’-putinAlert – SAS hero Chris Ryan and former intelligence colonel blast Trump adviser’s claim that Ukraine war is ‘Europe’s problem’ – saying statement will only ’embolden’ Putin

British military chiefs, including SAS hero Chris Ryan, last night blasted a top Donald Trump advisor for dismissing the Ukraine war as ‘Europe’s problem’ – warning the claim would only ’embolden’ Vladimir Putin. 

Elbridge Colby, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, triggered outrage last night over his remarks, which a former Colonel in British military intelligence branded ‘dangerous’. 

In his astonishing critique, the US military strategist – who is widely tipped for a top security job in DC should Trump emerge victorious from November elections – said Britain must stop ‘haranguing’ the White House to help Kyiv.

Colby’s comments came on the eve of a key meeting between Western leaders in Washington for NATO’s 75th-anniversary summit this week, attended by Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and President Joe Biden.  

British special forces legend Chris Ryan has now lashed out, with the famed military hardman warning the American official’s remarks would only spur on Putin to continue with his savage invasion in Ukraine.  

‘Unless depleted or defeated Putin won’t stop at Europe, victory would embolden him and the rest of the axis who work as proxies for one another,’ the retired soldier-turned-author told .

‘The only choice is to stand together again as we did against Hitler.

‘Elbridge clearly doesn’t understand the concept that Europe is an extremely important buffer between the US and the East.

‘For an educated man I can’t understand why he doesn’t see the totality of the threat the US faces and unfortunately choosing to concentrate on the front door leaves his back door wide open.’

The former special forces operator added: ‘Ukraine is fighting for us all and we are supporting their fight and 100 per cent should stand by them until the job is done.’

Philip Ingram, a former Colonel in British military intelligence, also slammed the military strategist – as he chillingly warned the world was now on an ‘accelerated path’ to global war.

‘The comments that Ukraine is Europe’s problem and Britain should not pester DC are very dangerous when looking at support for Ukraine in isolation,’ Colonel Ingram said.

‘They will embolden Putin and trigger him to use all means possible to support Trump becoming the next US President.’

But the former spymaster added: ‘However, in a more global context they may be a recognition of realism. With the Middle East and south-east Asia becoming hugely more unstable, what is happening there could have a greater effect on the US and the US knows the EU and UK have little capability to help.

‘This could be the first commentary recognising that we are on an accelerated path to global conflict and in that case, Ukraine would primarily be a European issue. The US would remain involved but not to the degree it is currently.’

Further concerns have been raised by a senior Royal Navy officer, who agreed the comments would ’embolden’ Putin.

Commodore Steve Prest, the former director of naval acquisition in the Royal Navy, admitted we should be ‘very worried’ by the American’s remarks.

‘Should we be worried that a key Trump ally has reportedly said that the war in Ukraine is ‘Europe’s problem’? Yes, we should be very worried indeed,’ the veteran naval officer said. 

‘Europe’s security is underpinned by American military muscle. European Governments have, frankly, relied too heavily on Uncle Sam and neglected their own Defence and Security responsibilities in recent decades. 

‘President Trump gave the Europeans a wake-up call during his first presidency, and this was reinforced dramatically by the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine.’

He continued: ‘In the short-term, such words will embolden President Putin. He will view such fractures in the willingness of the Alliance to keep its word as weakness and he will try to exploit it.’

The naval officer said a credible ‘deterrence’ was key to ‘stopping things before they start’.

But he said for this to work, nations must show ‘resolve’.  

‘That resolve is being tested by Ukraine and Nato needs to pass the test,’ added Cmdr Prest. 

‘That is in America’s interest. America’s own security is tied to that of Europe across the Atlantic and, to its West, what happens in the Asia-Pacific region. This was a lesson of the twentieth century and, despite some of the retreat of globalisation, it remains more true today than ever.’

The senior officer said any show of weakness or ‘fragility’ in such alliances could spur on the like of China and Russia to seize upon it. 

‘If further chaos ensues in Eastern Europe, the lesson from history is that ‘Europe’s problem’ could escalate to become America’s problem very quickly indeed,’ he warned. 

The comments by Trump ally Colby were made in an interview with the Telegraph and come amid fears the US would significantly scale back its military aid to Ukraine should Trump succeed in securing a second term in the White House. 

Kicking off the three-day NATO 75th anniversary summit this week, President Joe Biden announced a new air defence system for Kyiv and urged unity against Vladimir Putin, who launched the Ukraine invasion in 2022.

Biden promised to send Kyiv an additional Patriot system, on top of two new systems being given by Germany and Romania and one which the Netherlands has said it is putting together with parts from other allies.

Underscoring Ukraine’s desperate need for such systems, Russia fired a barrage of missiles on the eve of the summit that killed dozens of people across the country, including in Kyiv where a children’s hospital was reduced to debris.

‘Make no mistake. Ukraine can – and will – stop Putin,’ Biden said forcefully to applause.

But the US president himself is facing a tough election challenge from Donald Trump, who has loudly questioned the utility of NATO and previously said he would be able to ‘end the war in 24 hours’ if he were in charge.

The comments sparked fears that Washington would quickly withdraw its military support for Ukraine and seek to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to accept a peace deal that would see large swathes of territory ceded to Moscow. 

Earlier this year, Trump’s Republican allies in the US Congress also forced a delay of months in approving new weapons for Ukraine.

The notion is not lost on NATO leaders, with outgoing Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledging the question marks over ongoing US support.

‘Ukraine has shown remarkable courage and NATO allies have provided unprecedented support. But let’s be honest – not even our support for Ukraine has been a given,’ Stoltenberg said.

‘Remember – the biggest cost and the greatest risk will be if Russia wins in Ukraine. We cannot let that happen.’ 

Given the prospect of a Trump presidency, European NATO states face shouldering a greater burden as part of a drive to ‘Trump proof’ the alliance.

Sir Keir Starmer, whose attendance at this week’s summit comes less than a week after he became British Prime Minister, was repeatedly pressed by reporters in Washington yesterday on whether the goal of spending 2.5% of GDP on defence would be reached within his first term.

He said the Labour government was ‘committed to the 2.5%’ and said that a strategic review of the defence budget will be held next week after the summit is concluded. 

‘The manifesto commitment was that it would take place within a year, I would like it to be quicker than that if I’m honest and we’ll set out the details about how we are going to do it.’

NATO members have an official goal of spending 2% of GDP on defence and 23 members are now thought to have reached that level.

But in the context of this year’s US election and the drive to ‘Trump proof’ the security alliance, Sir Keir acknowledged more needed to be done to lock in support for Ukraine.

He also indicated the UK is working with NATO partners to hash out a new financial package, military aid and an industrial strategy to support Ukraine.

Zelensky, who was invited to attend the NATO summit by Biden, yesterday thanked Ukraine’s backers for the promise of new air defences and urged the United States and others to go further to help defeat Russia. 

But he is also in Washington to seek firm assurances that his nation will one day be able to join the security alliance. 

Ukraine’s membership bid enjoys wide backing from Baltic and Eastern European nations still haunted by decades under the Soviet yoke and fearful of the prospect of more Russian aggression on their borders. 

But Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have led opposition, concerned that the accession of Ukraine to the alliance would effectively compel other NATO countries to join the war with nuclear-armed Russia.

Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur said negotiations were ongoing on the final language for the roadmap to NATO membership for Ukraine, adding that he was hopeful the world ‘irreversible’ would be involved.

But US officials are seeking to play down expectations, speaking of creating a ‘bridge’ to future membership while making it clear that the prospect of a quick entry is not on the cards. 

Putin has repeatedly accused the West of antagonising Russia by entertaining NATO membership for Ukraine.

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