As Russia's war against Ukraine continues to rage, the new chief of the British Army cautioned soldiers that they must prepare "to fight in Europe once again," remarks that have taken on new significance as Russia's war against Ukraine continues.
General Sir Patrick Sanders, who assumed command on Monday, sent his first internal communication to troops and government employees on Thursday.
In the statement, which was reported by BBC News, the commander stated, "Russia's invasion of Ukraine underscores our essential mission to defend the United Kingdom by being prepared to fight and win land battles."
The military official added that there is an urgent need to "create an army that can fight alongside our friends and defeat Russia in war."
Sanders disclosed in a statement that he is the first chief of the general staff since 1941 to assume command of the Army in the midst of a "major continental power's ground conflict in Europe."
He established objectives, such as mobilizing and modernizing the army, to bolster NATO's defense and deny Russia the opportunity to seize any more of Europe.
Sanders is commanding the smallest British army in more than three centuries, spanning the Cold War and the nation's tenure as a global colonial power.
The Ministry of Defense reported in March that the number of soldiers in the British Armed Forces decreased by 1,800 between October 2021 and January 2022, to little over 197,000.
Later that month, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced a vision for the future of the British army, which included spending £3 billion (approximately $3.7 billion) on new long-range rocket systems and air defenses, as well as £120 million (approximately $147 million) on the creation of new Ranger Regiments.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday in Kyiv, marking his second unannounced visit since Russia's invasion began on February 24.
"It was tremendously moving to walk the streets of Kyiv with you again to honor your fallen troops, whose sacrifice, unconquerable spirit, and bravery we will never forget," Johnson said.
Johnson outlined a four-point plan to provide military assistance, which included ensuring Ukraine "receives weapons, equipment, ammunition, and training more quickly than the invader."
The prime minister also said they will provide constant funding and technical assistance, and developing alternative overland routes to circumvent the Russian blockade of Ukraine's ports.
In addition, the United Kingdom would collaborate with allies to train up to 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers every 120 days, Johnson said.