Brussels Correspondent Joe Barnes weighs in on the current battle over who will be NATO’s next Secretary General, and what the touted successor, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, might mean for Ukraine:
There is much admiration and respect for what he has done for Ukraine in directing NATO’s response. First of all, it delivered NLAWs in January of last year, a month before Russia even invaded.
Then as a former Scottish Guard he knows the military and he knows about war so he determined that what happened was Ukraine got a lot of great weapon systems but struggled to move forward with a Soviet era doctrine that you have to firing as much ammunition as possible and basically grinding targets into the ground with long-range fires. And Ben Wallace described it to NATO colleagues as “we can give them the ingredients, but we also have to give them the cookbook if they want to bake the cake.”
Then Operation Interflex began and Britain trained Ukrainian troops along with a few other NATO allies in Britain.
Joe goes on to highlight the impact of Storm Shadow missiles:
Britain was the first to send it air-launched cruise missiles with a range of about 200 miles. It hasn’t been tracked yet, but what people within NATO do credit to Ben Wallace is by donating that, it helped end US opposition to training Ukrainian pilots on F-16s.
And now there is a coalition of countries, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, who want to train Ukrainian pilots in flying planes, but also in their weapon systems. So while Ben Wallace is by no means the only candidate, he’s being commended for making that happen by pushing Storm Shadow so hard.
Later, Dom Nicholls speaks with Bill Browder, an author and long-time Kremlin critic. He criticizes Britain for being “passive” when it comes to the capture of his friend, dual national Vladimir Kara-Murza in Russia. It is because Canada is offering honorary citizenship to the British-Russian, who is an outspoken opponent of Putin.
He has a British passport. Britain should take the lead in this. Britain has been very passive towards other countries, which I find frustrating and disturbing. But I’m not going to bang my head against the wall if Britain doesn’t do what it should. Vladimir is someone who has met most of the top parliamentarians in Canada. And the fact that they gave him honorary citizenship suggests that they will speak much more of him than Britain may have been. So if Britain remains passive, I will find another country to take the lead.
When asked when he had last heard from Mr. Kara-Murza, Bill Browder said they had corresponded over the past few weeks:
I received a letter from him a few weeks ago and he is putting on a very brave face in the face of this incredible situation. He’s lost 25 pounds at this point and he wasn’t a big guy to begin with. He was poisoned twice with a chemical nerve agent to kill him… that poisoning caused nerve damage and he has lost feeling in both his feet since being in prison. He loses feeling on his left side of his body. And I’m afraid if he’s in prison for any length of time, he won’t survive.
The war in Ukraine is changing our world. Every weekday, the Telegraph’s top journalists analyze the invasion from all angles – military, humanitarian, political, economic, historical – and tell you what you need to know to stay informed.
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Ukraine: the latestregular contributors are:
David is head of social media at the Telegraph where he worked for almost two years. He previously worked for the World Economic Forum in Geneva. He speaks French.
Dom is Associate Editor (Defense) at the Telegraph he entered service in 2018. Previously, he served 23 years in the British Army, in tank and helicopter units. He had operational deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.
Francis is assistant commentary editor at the Telegraph. Prior to working as a journalist, he was Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Policy Council in the Houses of Parliament in London. He studied history at Cambridge University and in the podcast he examines how the past sheds light on the latest diplomatic, political and strategic developments.
They are also regularly joined by the Telegraph‘s foreign correspondents around the world, including Joe Barnes (Brussels), Sophia Jan (China), Natalia Vasiliev (Russia), Roland Elephant (Senior reporter) and Colin Freeman (News reporter). In London, Venice Rainey (weekend foreign editor), Katie O’Neill (Assistant foreign editor), and Really Bowman (News Reporter) also seem to offer regular updates.