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Falklands war threat should not be ignored and we must keep guard up…but we’re better prepared than ever, says Lord West

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THREATS of a new Falklands war shouldn’t be ignored – but the UK is better prepared than ever, a former Royal Navy chief has said.

Lord Admiral West, 75, believes there is no concern of an Argentine military invasion on the Falkland Islands but warned “stranger things have happened”.

Argentina's president elect Javier Milei has vowed to 'get the Falklands back'

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Argentina’s president elect Javier Milei has vowed to ‘get the Falklands back’Credit: Getty
'The Madman' claims Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands is 'non-negotiable'

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‘The Madman’ claims Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands is ‘non-negotiable’Credit: AP
Admiral Lord West - ex-Royal Navy Chief and Falklands War hero - said the UK is better prepared than ever for another Falklands War

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Admiral Lord West – ex-Royal Navy Chief and Falklands War hero – said the UK is better prepared than ever for another Falklands WarCredit: PA

Admiral West’s comments came after Argentina’s new president Javier Milei vowed to “get the Falklands back”.

But the Falklands War hero is confident the UK is better prepared for an assault than they were more than 40 years ago.

Speaking to The Sun, he said: “There’s no prospect of a military attack on the Falkland Islands.

“We’re much better prepared than we were in the past and the Argentinian military are in a very bad state anyway.

“Although, you’ve always got to pay attention, keep your intelligence services going and keep your guard up because stranger things have happened.”

Admiral West then slammed Milei as “silly” for even thinking he’d have a chance at claiming the Falklands.

“The UK has made it very clear that the issue of sovereignty is not up for discussion at all,” he added.

“So to raise it again is quite silly to be honest but he’s playing to his own audience.

“If the population of the Falklands want to belong to Argentina, then it might be different, but I can’t see that ever happening.”

The ten-week undeclared war between Argentina and the UK in April 1982 tragically cost the lives of over 900 military personnel and three civilians.

British administration was eventually restored after 74 days when Argentine military forces, who had invaded the islands, were forced to surrender.

A repeat is now unthinkable.

“It was nasty and bloody,” Lord West recalled. “It was unnecessary.

“(Leonardo) Galtieri was very unpopular and he used the Falklands as a way of diverting people’s attention.

“It was such a short war but we lost over 250 men from our military and the Argentinian’s lost over 600 from theirs.”

While Admiral West is adamant that the islands have recovered from the war, he recognised the struggles of making the area safe again.

“The clearing up of the landmines took many years,” he continued. “We even had Argentinian companies helping us do it.

“They were declared cleared four or five years ago but you never know if there are going to be one or two still lying around.

“The Argentinian’s laid them in the most appalling manner – you were meant to lay mines and know where they are so that you can clear them at a later date.

“The Argentinian’s just threw them all over the place and a lot of them were the plastic variant that you can’t find very easily with detector equipment.”

Milei will enter Argentina’s presidential hotseat on December 10 after storming to success in the recent election.

The 53-year-old reportedly takes advice from his dead dog, used to teach tantric sex, once dressed up as a masked superhero and wielded a chainsaw during his political rallies.

Milei advocates selling body organs, scrapping most government departments, selling off the impoverished country’s rivers and seas and making the US dollar its official currency.

And the potty-mouthed anarcho-capitalist politician, known as “The Madman”, has already promised the South American nation that they will soon rule Islas Malvinas.

“What do I propose?” he said.

“Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands is non-negotiable. The Malvinas are Argentine.”

But over in Stanley, the capital and largest community in the Falklands, barely anyone has bat an eyelid.

I think it’s important to recognise that there is a lot of concern about Argentina all the time

Mark PollardChair of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly

Mark Pollard, chair of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, believes there is very little to worry about despite the radical Argentine’s vow.

“In terms of the actual threat of Argentina getting the Falklands back, there’s very little for us to worry about,” Pollard told The Sun.

“I think it’s important to recognise that there is a lot of concern about Argentina all the time – the PTSD runs through the community.

“But my mandate is pretty clear and we have the support of the British government continuously.”

Perhaps surprisingly, Milei doesn’t want to force Argentinian rule on the 3,700 Falkland Islanders – admitting that “the war option is not a solution”.

“We had a war – that we lost – and now we have to make every effort to recover the islands through diplomatic channels,” he said.

But publicly stating he wouldn’t start another war could be perceived as a bluff by many – especially as “El Loco” is backed by 80 per cent of Argentinian’s to take control of the archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean.

But Pollard believes it will only end in disappointment for those “brainwashed” followers, having frequently seen the Falklands used as a mere distraction from more pressing matters.

“I’m not surprised that so many people in Argentina support this,” the lawmaker said.

“What happens in Argentina is that people are indoctrinated with a falsified account of history from birth.

“It’s plastered all over the streets and public transport, they’re brainwashed in school.

“We are a distraction. We are a distraction to all of the problems that they have – it’s what Argentine governments use us for.”

Unlike most wars, there were very few civilian casualties in 1982 – just three Falkland islanders were killed.

But along with 107 members of British personnel who were captured, local residents endured hell as their island was invaded and their homes were stormed.

“We had Argentina invade our home, take it away and lock our people up,” said Pollard.

“They had no idea whether they were going to live or die, or what was happening to their loved one’s elsewhere.

“These scars are rife through the Falklands. They’re here physically – the landscape is scarred from bombs – but they’re also here mentally.

“I’m not sure what the rest of the world seems to think but not wanting to get involved and put Argentina back in its box is the most frustrating thing.”

We’re much better prepared than we were in the past and the Argentinian military are in a very bad state anyway

Admiral Lord WestFormer Royal Navy chief

In a 2013 sovereignty referendum, almost all Falklanders voted in favour of remaining a UK overseas territory.

In response to Milei’s recent threats, the UK’s Defence Secretary said Britain will “always defend” the Falkland Islands.

Despite being more than 8,000 miles away from the UK, Grant Shapps said the archipelago is “undeniably British”.

And a strong level of communication with those on the mainland is helping to keep Falkland Islanders level-headed.

“We talk to the foreign office quite often,” Pollard said:

“But really the ball is in Argentina’s court. Do they want to engage proactively and be responsible neighbours?

“We are always the grownups in this relationship with Argentina.”

And that’s proved further when the South American neighbours often dismiss those who inhabit the land they so desperately want.

“Argentina won’t talk to the Falkland Islands, they don’t recognise us as people let alone as a government,” blasted Pollard.

“I think we’ll be waiting to hear from Milei as to what sort of neighbour he wants to be.

“We go in cycles with this. We’ll find that there is an Argentine government that wants to be friendlier than the last and do some things together with the Falklands.

“But they quite often cut off their nose to spite their face and just want more and more and more – which we’re not prepared to do.”

Mark Pollard, chair of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, believes there is very little for the archipelago to worry about

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Mark Pollard, chair of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, believes there is very little for the archipelago to worry aboutCredit: Falkland Islands Government
The Falkland Islands is a British overseas territory with a population of around 3,700

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The Falkland Islands is a British overseas territory with a population of around 3,700Credit: Getty
A mural in Buenos Aires depicting Argentine rule over Islas Malvinas

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A mural in Buenos Aires depicting Argentine rule over Islas MalvinasCredit: AFP
Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982 - prompting the Falklands War

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Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982 – prompting the Falklands WarCredit: Alamy
900 military personnel and three civilians were killed across ten-weeks of bloodshed between Argentina and the UK

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900 military personnel and three civilians were killed across ten-weeks of bloodshed between Argentina and the UKCredit: Paul Tonge
British administration was eventually restored after 74 days when Argentine military forces surrendered

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British administration was eventually restored after 74 days when Argentine military forces surrenderedCredit: Paul Tonge

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