Russia failing to achieve ‘any major objectives’ in Ukraine, defence secretary says

Russia is failing to achieve any of its key aims at the start of its invasion of Ukraine and has lost 450 personnel, the defence secretary says.

Ben Wallace said the Kremlin had been unable to take control of a significant airport north of Kiev, adding: “In fact, the Ukrainians have taken it back.”

“Our assessment, as of this morning, is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives – in fact it is behind its hoped-for timetable,” he said.

And he added: “Russia has lost significant amounts of armour and people – Ukrainians are fighting and they are fighting brave.”

The assessment came despite an expectation that Russian tanks will roll into Kiev on Friday – evoking memories of Soviet invasions of the capitals of Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the last century.

Russia has continued to carry out missile attacks, as Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, pleaded with Western allies to do more to stop the assault.

Boris Johnson’s cabinet has been briefed that the war is likely to be protracted, forcing Western allies to dig in for a long haul as they use sanctions to try to force Vladimir Putin to pull back.

That effort has already been undermined by a failure to reach agreement to exclude Russia from the SWIFT international payments system, with Germany among countries resisting.

Mr Wallace said the Russian president had claimed the people of Ukraine would feel “liberated” and would be “flocking to his cause”.

“He got that completely wrong…


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