Gen. Sir Nick Carter, the head of the UK’s armed forces, told local media on Sunday that the country’s military will have to be ready for war with Russia, even though he “distinctly hoped” there would not be a war, and that Russia does "not want to bring on a hot war.”
He added that Russia was now a greater threat in eastern Europe than when he first took up his post eight years ago.
The backdrop to his comments is the tension between Poland and Belarus, backed by Russia, due to large groups of migrants amassed at the border between the two countries.
Russian troops are also thought to be massing at its border with Ukraine. Britain has sent a small military deployment to see if it could assist Poland.
Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, previously told local media that Russia believes it is at war with the UK and its allies.
Responding to this opinion, Carter told Sky News: “Russia probably regards the global strategic context as a continuous struggle in which, I think, they would apply all the instruments of national power to achieve their objectives. But in so doing, (Russia) don’t want to bring on a hot war.