A new Royal Air Force (RAF) radar facility will be deployed on Shetland Island to reinforce the country’s ability to monitor unidentified military or civilian aircraft.
“We will always protect our skies from Russian aggression. This radar is a vital part of the UK’s defenses as we react to intensifying global threats and reinforce our ability to tackle them. Russia’s actions are not limited to Europe’s eastern borders ¬– the threat to British livelihoods is severe and real,” said Gavin Williamson, Defense Secretary.
A new RAF radar facility reinforcing the UK’s ability to track aircraft will be powered up ready to operate soon. @ChiefofAirStaff visited the site of the new £10m Remote Radar Head facility, at Saxa Vord, Unst, Shetland, to inspect its progress. Read more https://t.co/h5irwBvFF1 pic.twitter.com/k1C6RLPt6w— Royal Air Force (@RoyalAirForce) 26 января 2018 г.
According to Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, “The radar system at Saxa Vord is an important part of ensuring that the RAF can fully protect both the UK’s airspace and that of our NATO allies, in the face of increasing pressure from Russia. Right at the tip of Shetland, Saxa Vord is a very remote site, so I’m extremely grateful to the team that has been working hard through the cold of winter, with snow and 120 mph gales, to ensure that construction has remained on schedule.”
Russophobic sentiments have repeatedly been heard among UK military circles. In an interview with a local newspaper, Williamson said that a Russian attack on the nation’s critical infrastructure could kill thousands, claiming that Moscow was searching for opportunities to create chaos.
Earlier in January, the UK chief of the General Staff, Nick Carter, claimed that Russia was capable of starting hostilities “sooner than expected,” and stressed the significance of protecting cyberspace and finding Britain’s weak spots and vulnerabilities to “Russia’s malign influence and disinformation.”
The Russian embassy in the United Kingdom responded to London’s “aggressive rhetoric” toward Moscow: "We are concerned about the growth of aggressive rhetoric spread by UK officials in relation to Russia. The latest examples confirming this dangerous tendency are the words of Gavin Williamson. The question is what is the purpose of such statements and whether the UK understands their true price," the spokesman for the embassy said in a statement.
The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, described Gavin Williamson’s claims as “beyond common sense.”
"The head of the UK Defense Ministry has gone beyond any sense in his fiery fight for the defense budget increase," spokesman of the Russian Defense ministry Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.