Grant Shapps has delivered a stark warning that defeat for Ukraine could be ‘existential’ for Western states.
The Defence Secretary said ‘regimes who do not believe in democracy are watching’ and will be emboldened if the Russian invasion succeeds.
Speaking on a trip to Washington DC this week, Mr Shapps cautioned that Britons are ‘living in more and more dangerous times’.
He told the Telegraph that Army recruitment more than doubled last month amid mounting fears of a wider confrontation – although he again dismissed the idea of conscription.
Mr Shapps said the West must be ‘very, very clear that this is existential – it’s not just about Ukraine’.
Speaking on a trip to Washington DC this week, Grant Shapps cautioned that Britons are ‘living in more and more dangerous times’
A Ukrainian soldier training in the Donestk region this week
Mr Shapps said Vladimir Putin and others would be ’emboldened’ if Ukraine was defeated
‘Everyone is watching – the Iranians are looking. Do we just run out of puff, run out of patience and go away?’ he said.
‘China will be watching in the Indo-Pacific, North Korea will be watching.
‘It is vitally important to our own national interests, and definitely to the Western civilised world, that Ukraine is successful in their own country.’
Military top brass, analysts and MPs have been sending dire message in recent weeks about the growing threat to ‘assumptions’ of peace and security.
The UK has announced aid for Ukraine is being upped to £2.5billion in the coming financial year.
Kyiv was given a major boost yesterday after EU countries sealed a £43billion (€50bn) aid package for Ukraine.
The support was signed off by all 27 member states despite threats from Hungary’s leader Viktor Orban – Russia’s closest EU ally – to veto the move.
European council president Charles Michel said that the decision ‘locks in steadfast, long-term, predictable funding for Ukraine,’ and demonstrates that the ‘EU is taking leadership and responsibility in support for Ukraine; we know what is at stake.’
Destruction in Lyman this month after two years of war with Russia
The UK’s most senior soldier warned recently that a ‘citizen army’ will be needed for any direct confrontation with Vladimir Putin.
Although he stopped short of backing conscription, general Sir Patrick Sanders said preparing for war against Russia should be a ‘whole-of-nation’ undertaking, including what he described as ‘national mobilisation’.
MPs have been sounding alarm for years about the dwindling size of the army, which has not been smaller since the Napoleonic Wars, and struggles with recruitment.