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On 26 March the House of Commons will debate National Security and Russia. The debate comes after the attempted murder of a former double agent in Salisbury. The UK Government is in the process of reviewing national security capabilities and has indicated that it intends to strengthen them. A parliamentary committee recently published the report of its inquiry into the implementation of the National Security Strategy. The committee concluded that a review of the National Security Strategy was wise given the rapidly changing security environment, but that the Government’s review did not go far enough.

Russia has been modernising its military and spending more on armaments and personnel. The rearmament programme is ambitious, however, particularly in the context of Russia’s economic weakness, and has been hit be delays and cancellations.

Russia has also been working on its ‘hybrid strategy’, using soft power, political interference and fake news, and the hacking of essential infrastructure, to undermine Western democracies and economies.

The UK is one of the European countries least dependent on Russian energy supplies.

There has been a lot of controversy about the size and strength of UK military forces, and their preparedness in the event of conflict.

Meanwhile, the replacement of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons is underway, after a vote to approve that in 2016. Four new submarines, the Dreadnought class, will carry the deterrent.

In the context of Brexit, intra-European defence collaboration and EU-NATO cooperation will be particularly important.

The sanctions regime against Russia was agreed at EU level after Russia annexed Crimea in 2015, although it has been added to since then.

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