Russia ‘could kill thousands in UK attack’

Russia wants to cause “so much pain to Britain” that it could launch an attack killing “thousands and thousands and thousands”, the Defence Secretary has warned.

Gavin Williamson predicted that Russia would launch an offensive not by arriving on a land craft at Brighton beach but targeting the UK’s critical energy infrastructure.

He speculated the attack would come as a missile launch or cyberattack.

The comments were published on the same day the Daily Mail revealed he “almost threw away” his marriage after kissing a colleague in 2004.

Mr Williamson, who is touted as a possible Conservative leadership contender, said Russia was looking to cripple Britain’s power stations.

Sunbathers enjoy the heat on Brighton beach

Image: Russian landing craft will not arrive on Brighton beach, Mr Williamson predicted

Asked why Moscow was researching those areas in particular, he told the Daily Telegraph: “It is because they are saying, ‘These are the ways we can hurt Britain.'”

“The plan for the Russians won’t be for landing craft to appear in the South Bay in Scarborough, and off Brighton Beach.

“They are going to be thinking, ‘How can we just cause so much pain to Britain? Damage its economy, rip its infrastructure apart, actually cause thousands and thousands and thousands of deaths, but actually have an element of creating total chaos within the country.'”

Putin (L) is seen through the glass of C-Explorer 5 submersible after a dive to see the remains of the naval frigate "Oleg" in 2013

Image: Russia’s Vladimir Putin could launch a missile attack, it was said

Mr Williamson said that after causing “the chaos”, Russia would then “step back”, adding he believes it is a “real threat”.

Russia’s defence minister responded by saying the comments showed he “has lost his understanding of what is reasonable”.

Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov claimed they were worthy of comedy sketch show Monty Python.

He added the remarks merited a medical checkup for Mr Williamson.

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It comes after Mr Williamson announced he was launching a review of the military’s needs dubbed the Defence Modernisation Programme.

He promised it would be “fiscally neutral” in a bid to head off Tory MPs threatening a revolt against cuts.