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Third of UK soldiers not fit enough to fight Putin’s army on the battlefield

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Britain’s traffic light system which grades the fitness of soldiers is flashing red. Fewer than seven out of 10 soldiers were given green or amber grades last year.

The findings have heightened concern about the combat readiness of the UK’s military. Just 68 per cent of regular and reserve soldiers achieved green or amber grades.

Nearly one in three received red grades or were unable to complete the assessment – potentially because of a medical exemption.

Former Labour defence minister Kevan Jones said: “These figures are alarming and raises further questions about the readiness of our Armed Forces to face aggression in the difficult times we live in.”

The results are an improvement on 2022, when fewer than two out of three soldiers secured green or amber grades.

These come amid high concern about Britain’s ability to fight a major war. General Sir Patrick Sanders, the outgoing head of the Army, has said there is “more to do” to ensure the UK can fight a conflict on the scale of a world war.

Westminster’s defence committee sounded the alarm earlier this year when it cast doubt on whether the UK can “sustain a force that can fight at high intensity in multiple domains for a prolonged period of time”.

It warned that Britain’s Armed Forces are “consistently over-stretched”, suffer from “capability shortfalls and stockpile shortages” and are “losing personnel faster than they can recruit them”.

The Soldier Conditioning Review requires personnel to complete six exercises. They must do a horizontal jump from a standing position to assess “lower limb explosive power” and throw a medicine ball from a seated position to measure upper body strength.

In addition, they must lift weights, perform five 20 metre sprints, do pull-ups and complete a two-kilometre run.

The review is described as a “gender and age free strength and conditioning diagnostic tool” which will help ensure “standards are maintained to support military tasks and operations”.

Defence minister Andrew Murrison said: “If they are marked as green it means they do not have any specific areas of physical fitness development/improvement and are at an adequate baseline. Personnel are marked as amber on the system if the individual needs to take another assessment in the next two months.”

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