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Hammond Says Russia Could Pose Greatest Threat To British Security

U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (file photo)
U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (file photo)

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on March 10 that Russia could once again pose the greatest threat to Britain's security.

Hammond, in a speech to the Royal United Studies Institute (RUSI) think tank in London, said, "We are in familiar territory for anyone over the age of about 50 with Russia's aggressive behavior a stark reminder it has the potential to pose the single greatest threat to our security."

Hammond said the country's spy agencies were stepping up efforts to counter the threat.

"Hence continuing to gather intelligence on Russia capabilities and intentions will remain a vital part of our intelligence effort for the foreseeable future. It is no coincidence that all of our agencies are recruiting Russian speakers again," Hammond said.

Hammond's comments follow a report by RUSI that said Britain's defense spending would inevitably drop below the 2 percent target due to austerity measures.

The report predicted that the military's strength could be reduced by 30,000 personnel, leaving just 115,000 in the combined armed forces by the end of the decade.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP