Listing examples of Russian aggression in eastern Europe and its involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, Mr Williamson added that there was an urgent need to counter the Kremlin’s “increasingly aggressive stance”.
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Latest GHT News
Russia attempting to push Britain around8th March 2018
Britain must put up a stronger front against Russian military aggression, the Defence Secretary has said as he warned that “we are being pushed around” by the Kremlin.
As suspicions deepen over Russia’s potential involvement in the poisoning of a former double agent, Sergei Skripal, Gavin Williamson said that Vladimir Putin’s regime posed an “ever-greater threat”.
His warning comes after a police officer poisoned by a “very rare” nerve agent in Salisbury while going to the aid of Mr Skripal and his daughter was said to be “talking and engaging” in hospital, according to the Home Secretary.
The targets of the attempted murder – Mr Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia – remain in a serious condition in intensive care, Amber Rudd added. They are understood to both be in comas.
Ms Rudd, who is is expected to make a statement in the Commons about the incident on Thursday, said she is “more optimistic” for the unnamed police officer. He was among the first to go to the aid of the pair, who were found slumped on a bench on Sunday afternoon.
The disclosure of the officer’s poisoning will add to growing pressure on the Government to take a hardline approach against Russia if state involvement is confirmed.
“Russia’s changing the way they actually fight and raise the level of conflict,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “We are seeing this in the north Atlantic as well – the amount of submarines that are operating, there’s a 10-fold increase in the last seven years.
“Russia’s being assertive, Russia’s being more aggressive, and we have to change the way that we deal with it because we can’t be in a situation in these areas of conflict where we are being pushed around by another nation.”
While Mr Williamson refused to say if he held Russia responsible for the attack in Salisbury, he described the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter as “absolutely disgusting”.
Police on Wednesday said government scientists had identified the nerve agent used by would-be assassins at a shopping arcade in the Wiltshire city centre. The chemical used is “likely to be rarer than Sarin or VX nerve agents”