UK: Unnamed defence sources told Sky News on Monday that the UK does not have enough cash to pay for its military obligations after delving deeply into its stockpiles to finance and supply the Ukrainian war effort.
The government is handing over vital military equipment to Kiev, such as tanks and artillery, sources warned, endangering Britain's ability to defend itself. They added that "having a small number of high-end, exquisite platforms when you have not got capacity around it" is useless.
According to the sources, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently promised Ukraine 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks and 30 AS90 artillery guns, the remaining artillery stocks of the British army, leaving the home front exposed.
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The sources who spoke to Sky argued that while Sunak inherited a "refresh" of defence policy developed in 2021 that prioritised investment in cutting-edge submarines and the creation of a new fighter jet, this plan disregards the military's immediate needs, including a lack of ammunition, artillery, and missile defence systems.
According to the sources, they had already urged the Treasury to increase the defence budget by £3 billion annually and to loosen restrictions on the purchase of arms, but Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was "playing hard ball."
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"[The Treasury] is aware of the dangers. They are aware of the pressure the defence is under from Ukraine, stockpiles, nuclear deterrence, and inflation. They claim there is no more money, but they are aware of the threats and the pressure, a source told Sky.
Even worse, the government is actually reducing the number of military personnel from 82,000 to 73,000. As a result, London will only be "credibly" able to provide a brigade to a new NATO force that would typically expect three to six times that many soldiers from them.
The country's army had been so "hollowed out by spending cuts," retired general Richard Barrons cautioned earlier this month in an op-ed, that it could run out of ammo "in a busy afternoon" and was in no way ready to withstand a "surprise attack."
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Insiders at the Ministry of Defence who spoke to Sky confirmed that, if called upon to fight, the military would "already run out of ammunition within a few days" and cautioned that it would take "up to ten years" to assemble a "modern warfighting division of about 25,000 to 30,000 troops."