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Defence Update

iScot’s Zoe Weir talks exclusively to Martin Docherty-Hughes MP

AT A TIME when peace between nuclear states is threatened by the rise of aggressive isolationism on multiple fronts, one could be forgiven for considering relocation to a desert island. We asked Martin Docherty-Hughes MP, a member of the SNP Defence Group at Westminster, for his opinions on the latest defence developments.

Martin at the “Ministers Touring Scotland” Scottish Government event, Clydebank Townhall, February 2016

ZW: Russia is amassing troops along its Western Front. It recently moved nuclear-capable Iskander-M tactical missile units to Kaliningrad in response to NATO redeployment of B-61 nuclear bombs to Deveselu. Could war with Russia involve nuclear weapons?

M D-H: The Russian Federation’s defence outlook is based on its nuclear capability. If Russia were to be the instigator of conflict, and that is not certain, then yes, nuclear conflict could ensue. Russian military doctrine somewhat scarily also speaks of the idea of nuclear weapons being used for ‘tactical deescalation’ of a conflict: using a small nuclear weapon to force an opponent to end a conventional conflict.

ZW: Possible war with Russia was the main topic of discussion at a recent meeting of the Defence Select Committee, with Michael Fallon commenting that the UK “would be ready” for armed conflict with Russia by 2018/19. General Shireff, ex-deputy chair of NATO, recently predicted a NATO v Russia war next year. Is it time to dig bunkers?

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iScot Magazine February 2017