The UK defense secretary compared Putin to Tsar Nicholas I, pointing to his lack of allies during the Crimean War.
Wallace said Britain “kicked the backside” of Russian leaders once and “can always do it again.”
Wallace is known for candid commentary and strong stance against Putin.
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Tsar Nicholas I on Wednesday, adding that British forces “kicked the backside” of the former Russian leader during the Crimean War in the 1850s and “can always do it again.”
Wallace, a former member of the Scots Guards, referenced the 170-year old conflict during an unguarded talk with British military personnel at the Horse Guards building in Westminster, according to British media.
“The Scots Guards kicked the backside of Tsar Nicholas I in 1853 in Crimea – we can always do it again,” the secretary said.
During the discussion, he compared Putin to the Nicholas I, pointing to his lack of allies during the Crimean War. Russia eventually lost the Crimean war to a coalition of France, the Ottoman Empire, and the UK.
“Tsar Nicholas I made the same mistake Putin did,” he said, adding that “he had no friends, no alliances.”
Wallace also said Britain has a “busy adversary” in Putin, who has said had “gone full tonto” by ordering his troops into rebel-held areas of Ukraine. Many Western observers suspect recent Russian moves are just the beginning and that a larger invasion is still to come.
The British defense secretary is known for his strong stance against Putin, as well as his candid commentary that has at times ruffled diplomatic feathers, even among allies.
For instance, amid the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Wallace criticized former President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban, calling it “rotten,” and in the aftermath, the secretary appeared to suggest the US was no longer a superpower because it wasn’t willing to stick it out in the war-torn country which fell swiftly to the Taliban after decades of war.
The Russian defense ministry responded via the state-run outlet Ria Novosti, according to the BBC.
Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that Russia recommends “that British servicemen study well not only the geography of Russia, but also its history, in order not to enrich our common military history with their lives to please poorly educated British politicians,”
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