A British general is warning his country and the West about Russia—a threat he calls worse than anything posed by ISIS or al-Qaeda, the BBC reports. "The Russians seek to exploit vulnerability and weakness wherever they detect it," General Mark Carleton-Smith tells the Telegraph. "Russia today indisputably represents a far greater threat to our national security than Islamic extremist threats such as al-Qaeda and [ISIS]." Carleton-Smith, who led Britain's fight against ISIS and in June became head of the British army, says military action has weakened Islamic militants. But in the wake of alleged poisoning and cyber-attacks, Russia looms large.
"Russia has embarked on a systematic effort to explore and exploit Western vulnerabilities, particularly in some of the non-traditional areas of cyber, space, undersea warfare," he says. But he opposes any notion (perhaps like French President Emmanuel Macron's
) that would weaken the military strength of NATO. He says the "center of gravity of European security" should hold fast. "In my experience, we should reinforce success." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov derided Carleton-Smith's remarks while visiting Lisbon, Radio Free Europe
reports. "We cannot influence the British government's decisions as to whom they trust to head its armed forces," says Lavrov. "I hope they check the appropriateness of such decisions." (Russian trolls apparently whipped up a frenzy over vaccines