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Defence Secretary Philip Hammond rattled his sabre at Russia yesterday, denouncing its failure to join “the international rules-based system which keeps the peace between nations.”
Mr Hammond’s provocative comments came during a speech in defence of Britain’s spies to the Royal United Services Institute in London.
The Tory minister accused Russian leader Vladimir Putin of “using Russian troops to destabilise eastern Ukraine.”
And he sensationally declared that Russia was the “single greatest threat” to Britain — despite much of his speech being devoted to the Islamist terror group Isis.
But peace campaigners rubbished Mr Hammond’s warmongering, with Stop the War Coalition national officer Chris Nineham saying: “The idea that Russia poses a military threat to Britain is frankly ludicrous.
“The tension over Ukraine is more than anything the result of years of Nato expansion eastwards, almost to the Russian border.”
Ukraine’s civil war erupted following a fascist-backed coup in the country last year which installed a pro-EU regime.
Russia’s backing for anti-fascist rebels in the east has provoked a furious reaction from Western powers — with former army chief Sir Peter Wall claiming that Britain should respond to “Russian expansionism” by committing to Nato’s defence spending target of 2 per cent of GDP.
But Mr Nineham said raising defence spending would “only ratchet up the tension with Russia.
“The recent interventionist and aggressive military posture has been disastrous in the Middle East. It will fare no better in eastern Europe.”
And Solidarity with the Anti-fascist Resistance in Ukraine president Alex Gordon said Russophobia was “the new black — the new racism at the Foreign Office.
“It doesn’t reflect the threat of Russia to Britain but the poodle mentality of the British government as the US’s biggest pom-pom holder.
“The focus of anti-war campaigning will increasingly be against EU, US and Nato aggression against any country — Russia, China, whoever — which asserts its sovereignty.”
Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths said the Defence Secretary should stop “whipping up hysteria” and “have a long lie-down in a darkened room with a cold flannel. Let the rest of us live in peace.”
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