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British Defense Chief Urges Bolstering Military Post-Brexit, Warns Russia Of 'Costs'

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson

Britain’s defense minister says the country should bolster its military capabilities after Brexit and warned that Russia should be aware that actions deemed unacceptable by the West will "come at a cost," according to a text seen by Reuters.

Gavin Williamson is scheduled to make the remarks in a speech to be delivered in London on February 11. Reuters reported that it has seen extracts of the text.

The report said Williamson will highlight close military ties between Washington and London and will support U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for NATO countries to increase military spending in the face of what he called Russian provocations.

Relations between the West and Moscow are strained over a variety of issues, including Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election, and a nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy in England, which the West has blamed on Russia.

"Such action from Russia must come at a cost," Williamson will say in the speech, according to the text.

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union at the end of March, although internal political fighting has left the country without a clear road map for the departure or what will happen afterward.

Williamson, in his speech, will outline plans to adopt a stronger military stance after Brexit, including sending its new aircraft carrier to the Pacific and investing in enhanced offensive cybercapabilities.

"Brexit has brought us to a great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality, and increase our mass," Williamson will say.

Based on reporting by Reuters