Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood has said that the UK must “face Russia directly” in the conflict in Ukraine.
Last month, the fighting capability of the British armed forces came under scrutiny, after a senior US general informed the British Defence Secretary that the Army was no longer seen as “top-level” fighting force by the United States.
Speaking to Sky News, Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, the head of the Parliamentary Defence Committee, demanded that the British government modernise the army, which was in a “dire state,” due to their “decades old” collection of tanks, with new ones not being put into production until 2030.
"We need to face Russia directly" Tobias Ellwood UK MP. An act that would lead to millions killed. This is unhinged.pic.twitter.com/em2oYyI8E8
— Robin Monotti (@robinmonotti) February 3, 2023
“The world is changing. We are now at war in Europe. We need to move to a war-footing,” Ellwood said. “We are involved in that. We’ve mobilised our procurement processes. We’re gifting equipment. We need to face Russia directly, rather than leaving Ukraine to do all the work.”
He added that there is an “expectation” that if Russia proceeded to invade other countries, such as the Baltic states, Britain would “participate” in their defence. “That would require land forces, air as well, and maritime too,” he said. “We’ve whittled it down over the last couple of decades, we’ve become complacent. So we’re unable to meet all the tasks…”
Ellwood’s demand that the UK “face Russia directly” in Ukraine came under scrutiny online, with some commentors saying that doing so would be “unhinged,” and lead to “millions killed.”
#Britain should engage directly in war against #Russia, says Tobias Ellwood, head of the British parliament's defence committee. "We are at war in Europe, we need to move to martial law". pic.twitter.com/4mibIJqECW
— tim anderson (@timand2037) February 3, 2023
Last month, Annalena Bauerbock, the German Foreign Minister and head of the German Green Party, made similar comments in a session of the European Parliament.
“I’ve said already in the last days, yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks,” Bauerbock said. “But the most important and crucial part is, that we do it together, and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia, and not against each other.”
German foreign minister declares war on Russia pic.twitter.com/C4cAqnZXhD
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) January 25, 2023
Ellwood, a staunch neo-conservative, demanded before the Russian invasion that the UK and NATO enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would inevitably involve conflict between NATO and Russian fighter aircraft. Last month, he suggested that an Afghan refugee who murdered a British man only did so because he was exposed to “the horrors of war.”
If we are serious about European security then these ‘lines in the snow’ should INCLUDE not EXCLUDE Ukraine.
Otherwise an invasion is inevitable.
At a minimum we should offer Ukraine a NATO enforced
‘NO FLY ZONE’.
It’s time to show strength, purpose and unity. https://t.co/meaRVYMoiy
— Tobias Ellwood MP (@Tobias_Ellwood) February 10, 2022