Britain's most senior military officer has cited the changing "character of warfare" and warned that there is the greatist risk in decades of "miscalculation" that could lead to war betwen Russia and the West.
General Nick Carter cited a willingness of authoritarian foes to use any means, including migrants, gas prices, proxies, or cyberattacks, to achieve their aims on the international stage.
Carter, chief of the British Defense Staff, told Times Radio in an interview to be broadcast on November 14 that "traditional diplomatic tools and mechanisms" available during the Cold War and an era of unipolar U.S. dominance are gone.
"Without those tools and mechanisms there is a greater risk that these escalations or this escalation could lead to miscalculation," he said. "So I think that's the real challenge we have to be confronted with."
His comments come with tensions high on EU member Poland's border with Belarus, where Minsk ally Russia has launched nuclear-capable bomber patrols in the past week as thousands of Middle Eastern migrants are congregated in hopes of reaching the West.
They also reflect direct strains between Moscow and NATO over Ukraine, where Kremlin-backed separatists are fighting a seven-year war, and the Black Sea region that includes Crimea, which Russia invaded and annexed in 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stark warning to the United States and other perceived rivals on November 13 by saying U.S. and NATO activities in the Black Sea represented a "serious challenge" to Russia.
U.S. and European officials have repeatedly cautioned of a threat of Russian military attack, reportedly over Russian troop buildups near its border with Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russian mercenaries are fighting in central Africa, Russian intelligence has been accused of high-profile assassinations abroad, Belarus has threatened to block Russian gas supplies to Western Europe, and groups with ties to Russian intelligence have been fingered for major cyberattacks on Western targets in recent years.
"The character of warfare has changed," Carter told Times Radio.
"I think we have to be careful that people don't end up allowing the bellicose nature of some of our politics to end up in a position where escalation leads to miscalculation," he added.
British Typhoon fighters reportedly escorted two Russian military aircraft out of the United Kingdom's area of interest on November 12, and London says it has deployed a small team of U.K. military personnel for potential "engineering support" at NATO ally Poland's border.