President Putin is unlikely to succeed in occupying Ukraine as his plans are starting to fail, according to Ben Wallace, the defence secretary.
Speaking on a visit to Copenhagen, he said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had “faltered” as he pledged more financial and military support to the country’s defence. Denmark joined the UK in offering more aid to Ukraine at a conference co-hosted by the cabinet minister yesterday.
Wallace said it was important to understand that fighting and loss of life were still taking place, but added that Russia’s invasion “has faltered and constantly been remodified, to the extent they are really only focusing in parts of the south and in the east, a long, long way away from their three-day so-called special operation.
“Three days are now over 150 days and nearly six months in, with huge significant losses of both equipment and indeed Russian personnel.”
The defence secretary said Putin would have gambled that by August the international community would have “got bored” of the conflict. “Well, today is proof of the opposite. We have come out of this meeting with more pledges of finance, more pledges of training and more pledges of military aid, all designed to help Ukraine win, to help Ukraine stand up for its sovereignty and indeed to ensure that President Putin’s ambitions fail in Ukraine as they rightly should,” he said.
Wallace said allies would soon need to start buying in weapons from other countries or “placing orders in factories to increase ammo supply to Ukraine” as their own reserve stocks are depleted.
The Ministry of Defence earlier confirmed it would send more weapons to Ukraine to help it defend against Russia’s invasion. This included multiple-launch rocket systems and precision-guided missiles that can strike targets up to 50 miles away, and are designed to defend against Russian heavy artillery.
Ukrainian troops have been trained in the UK on how to use the launchers, and the UK has also committed to training 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers in infantry battlefield skills over the coming months.
Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands have announced that they will be supporting the programme. The UK will put £250 million into the International Fund for Ukraine, a flexible fund that will be used to provide military equipment and other support to the armed forces of Ukraine. The fund will ensure a steady flow of money not just for the provision of vital new weapons, but also for the essential maintenance and repair of existing kit, and for training.
The UK has previously supplied Ukraine with a range of weapons, including the Nlaw anti-tank missile launcher, which was considered instrumental in the initial defence against Moscow’s invasion.
An internal Ukrainian government report revealed this week that Russia’s armoured vehicles and helicopters are unable to withstand small-arms fire. The dossier, compiled by the country’s ministry of defence and seen by The Times, claims that Russian weapons recovered from the battlefield are unreliable and do not meet modern requirements. According to the report, Russia’s missiles have only a 33 per cent chance of hitting their target.