EU referendum: 'Brexit could weaken Nato alliance', warns US general

'If the EU begins to become unravelled there can’t help but be a knock-on effect for the alliance'

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A British vote in favour of Brexit could endanger the Nato alliance at a time when Russia threatens Europe’s security, the head of the US Army in Europe has cautioned.

Lieutenant-General Frederick “Ben” Hodges said he was “worried” the EU would unravel in the event of Britain’s exit, weakening efforts to resist Russian expansionism in Europe and the Middle East.

Speaking to the BBC, Lt-Gen Hodges said the outcome of the referendum, due to take place on 23 June, is of “strategic interest to us”.

“Anything that undermines the effectiveness of the alliance has an impact on us, and so if the EU begins to become unravelled there can’t help but be a knock-on effect for the alliance also,” he said.

Lt-Gen Hodges' concerns have also been raised by Nato security general, Jens Stoltenberg, who has previously suggested he would prefer Britain to remain in the EU, the BBC reports.

The Defence secretary Michael Fallon has also claimed the UK will be taking a “big gamble” with its security if it votes to leave the EU.

Lt-Gen Hodges' comments come days after the Prime Minister said Britain had “100 days to secure our future”.

In a campaign video, David Cameron claimed leaving the EU would increase the price of goods in shops and put jobs at risk.

However, Leave.EU spokesman, Brian Monteith, said the final 100 days of the campaign would see "more scaremongering" from the Remain camp "as the promoters of Project Fear become more desperate to keep us in the grips of a costly and disintegrating EU".

He added: "Downing Street and the self-interested banks and corporations will try every trick in the book, using false assertions, sleight of hand and misleading statistics to try and deceive the British public.”

An ORB poll for the Daily Telegraph, suggests the Leave and Remain campaigns are in deadlock, with Remain on 47 per cent and Leave on 48 per cent.

However, when likelihood to vote is take into account, those backing Brexit would win by 52 per cent to 44 per cent.

Additional reporting by Press Association