The US commander in charge of most of America’s nuclear missiles has warned that too much power is concentrated in the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and drawn parallels between Russia’s recent behavior and that of Nazi Germany.
Lieutenant General Stephen Wilson, commander of US Global Air Strike Command, said: “I don’t think we’ve ever seen so much power put in one person in Russia, and some of the things happening there are troubling and concerning for everybody.”
He added: “[They’ve] annexed a country, changing international borders, raising rhetoric unlike we’ve heard since the cold war times, and so lots of people are trying to figure out what is the strategic intent of Russia.
“Some of the actions by Russia recently we haven’t seen since the 1930s, when whole countries were annexed and borders were changed by decree.”
Wilson, who is responsible for US intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear-capable bomber forces, made the comments at a briefing in London attended by The Independent.
His outspoken remarks come amid rising tensions between the West and Russia. Yesterday, the EU extended economic sanctions against Moscow over its actions in Ukraine, and the US Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter, declared that America’s Nato allies must join it in standing up to Russian aggression.
Wilson also used the briefing to accuse Russia of risking lives when its military jets fly unannounced close to Western countries’ airspace, or near to corridors used by international commercial airliners.
“When we fly, we fly to a flight plan – we announce it, we ‘squawk’, our transponders are on, we are talking to air traffic control, we are following all international laws,” he said of USAF and other Nato missions. “That isn’t happening with Russia. You’ve got contested airspace with people flying all the time, you’re unannounced, you’re not on a flight plan, you’re not squawking. We would not do that. It puts people at risk.”
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