Anonymous British Armed Forces personnel
The defence sources said Rishi Sunak risked failing in his role as "wartime prime minister" (Picture: MOD).

US general 'warns British Army no longer among world's top-level fighting forces'

Anonymous British Armed Forces personnel
The defence sources said Rishi Sunak risked failing in his role as "wartime prime minister" (Picture: MOD).

A US general has reportedly told Defence Secretary Ben Wallace that the British Army is no longer considered to be among the world's top-tier fighting forces, according to a Sky News report. 

Defence sources, reported by Sky News, revealed that the unnamed general reportedly warned Mr Wallace about the status of the Army, and sources also claimed the UK's Armed Forces were "a service unable to protect the UK and its allies".

One of the unnamed officers told Sky News Rishi Sunak risked failing in his role as "wartime prime minister" unless he took urgent action given the growing security threat posed by Vladimir Putin's Russia.

"We have a wartime prime minister and a wartime chancellor," one source told Sky News.

"History will look back at the choices they make in the coming weeks as fundamental to whether this government genuinely believes that its primary duty is the defence of the realm or whether that is just a slogan to be given lip service."

This comes after the UK was the first Nato member country to agree to send Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. 

One of the defence sources went on to say the UK's decline in war-fighting capability – following decades of cuts to save money – needed to be reversed faster than planned, with a greater sense of urgency, in the wake of Russia's war in Ukraine.

Watch: Is Nato's support for Ukraine getting more offensive as Russian retaliation fears shrink?

The US general is also said to have used a term to rank the strength of a country's military, with tier one regarded as a top-level military power such as the United States, Russia, China and France. 

The US general is said to have told Mr Wallace that the UK military is not a "tier one" fighting force and is "barely" even tier two.

Tier two would describe a more middling power, with less fighting capability such as Germany or Italy.

Regarding the size and capability of the British Army, the source is quoted as saying: "Bottom line… it's an entire service unable to protect the UK and our allies for a decade." 

In response to the report, a Government spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister is clear that we have to do everything necessary to protect our people, which is why the UK has the largest defence budget in Europe and we made the biggest investment in the UK defence industry since the Cold War in 2020.

"We are ensuring our Armed Forces have the equipment and capability they need to meet the threats of tomorrow, including through a fully-funded £242 billion 10 year equipment plan."

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