You are currently viewing The UK’s Mobilisation since the War in Ukraine: The Catalyst for Renewed UK-EU Defence Relations?

The UK’s Mobilisation since the War in Ukraine: The Catalyst for Renewed UK-EU Defence Relations?

Written by: Catarina Silva

Edited by: Manfred Sintorn

Supervised by: Emile Clarke

In January 2024, General Sir Patrick Sanders, the Chief of General Staff of the British Army stated that “Ukraine really matters” (Sanders, 2024). In his address at the International Armoured Vehicles exhibition in London, General Sanders emphasised the significance of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on the future. The General was referencing historical failures to understand crises’ consequences and previous failures in averting conflicts and cautioned against repeating history by failing to learn from it and stressed Ukraine’s geopolitical importance. 

In the same speech, the general calls for a substantial increase in the British army’s size, aiming to nearly double its current capacity. This initiative is part of the UK military’s broader strategy to address a persistent recruitment shortage that has diminished its manpower over time (Secretary of State for Defence, 2021). Additionally, he emphasised the significance of traditional mobilisation while stressing the necessity for ordinary British citizens to be ready for a level of civic involvement similar to World War mobilisation efforts. 

General Sanders is not the only notable figure alerting the British public that there are dangers to come. Grant Shapps, the UK Secretary of Defence, delivered a repurposed version of former US president George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” (Bush, 2021) speech in January 2024, remarking that the world has transitioned “from a post-war era to a pre-war era” (Shapps, 2024).

This InfoFlash delves into the recent speeches delivered by Sanders and Shapps, which have sparked numerous news articles centred around military conscription in the UK and the potential for its reinstatement. Additionally, this paper also explores broader defence topics, examining the evolving recent dynamics between the UK and the EU in the realm of defence cooperation.