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Russia not 'dumb enough' to launch full-scale Ukraine invasion - ex-ambassador
27 January 2022, 15:11
Ex-British Ambassador to Russia Sir Roderic Lyne tells LBC Russia is not "dumb enough" to launch a full-scale invasion into Ukraine, as the high-stakes stand-off continues.
With Vladimir Putin massing some 100,000 troops at the border, Nato countries are looking to bolster defences, and the British Government is considering beefing up its contingent of military personnel in the region.
The Telegraph reports that Government sources say there are "very advanced discussions" about deploying more units from the army, Royal Navy and the RAF to Nato's easternmost countries, many of which are ex-Soviet or Warsaw Pact members.
About 1,000 are already deployed in Estonia and Poland as part of existing commitments designed to deter Russian aggression and show support for Nato countries.
Sir Lyne told Shelagh Fogarty: "The Kremlin is trying to scare us, it's trying to scare the Ukrainians into making all sorts of concessions.
"So they're waving around a big stick, they're showing lots of pictures of tanks and soldiers.
"The military experts say that actually if they were going to do a full-scale invasion, they'd probably need even more force than they've lined up."
Sir Lyne continued: "The real point is, a full-scale invasion of Ukraine would be a massive undertaking for Russia and it would be a massive risk.
"Ukraine is bigger than France, it's got 42 million people. The Russians invaded Afghanistan and they never managed to get out, and they saw what happened to us when we tried to occupy Iraq.
"So I don't think that they're dumb enough to do that, I think it would be completely crazy on their part.
"But I think what they are going to do is keep this threat hanging over us, try to step up the pressure, and get us to abandon the independence of Ukraine - that's what they really want us to do."