The UK issued a warning to Russia as refugees topped 1.5million and ministers said violence could last years. Britain’s Chief of the Defense Staff said Russia’s forces were in a ‘mess’ – but warned that they could push Putin to be even more violent
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace today warned the Kremlin not to underestimate the West as he told tyrant Vladimir Putin: “Don’t test us”.
The Cabinet minister said allies “must not be afraid of Putin” as he suggested the UK could fund more light weapons wreaking havoc on Russian tanks and aircraft in Ukraine.
Mr Wallace warned the Russian leader – who he said was “acting irrationally and inflicting horrors on Ukraine” – not to “test” the UK.
“The thing to say to Putin is don’t underestimate us, don’t test us,” he told the Sunday Telegraph.
“History is littered with authoritarian leaders underestimating the wider West and the United Kingdom. He clearly underestimated the international community.”
He added: “If we stick together and refuse to be intimidated then I believe he will fail.”
It came as authorities staged a second bid to evacuate the under-siege city of Mariupol after a ceasefire yesterday was broken. More than 1.5million refugees have now fled Ukraine in 10 days as Russia bombs civilian areas.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Defiant Putin today told Turkey he would only halt his attacks if Ukraine stopped fighting and Moscow’s demands were met – brazenly claiming the operation was going to plan.
Britain’s top military chief today said Russia has “got itself into a mess” with the invasion, morale in Moscow’s forces is low and the Kremlin lost more troops in a week than the UK did in 20 years in Afghanistan.
But Chief of the Defense Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin warned Vladimir Putin would unleash fierce and indiscriminate aggression against the Ukrainian people.
And deputy PM Dominic Raab warned the Ukraine conflict could last “months if not years”, with the Russian leader launching even “more brutal” attacks on civilians.
As the UK refused calls for a no-fly zone due to fears it would spark a third world war, Boris Johnson admitted: “Have we done enough for Ukraine? The honest answer is no.”
The PM of two and a half years and former Foreign Secretary, whose party has taken £2m in donations from people or firms linked to Russia, claimed “for too long we have turned the other cheek”.
He added: “We have failed to learn the lessons of Russian behavior that have led to this point.
“No-one can say we were not warned: we saw what Russia did in Georgia in 2008, Ukraine in 2014 and even on the streets of the British city of Salisbury.”
In an essay in the New York Times, I added: “It is no longer enough to express warm platitudes about the rules-based international order.
“We are going to have to actively defend it against a sustained attempt to rewrite the rules by force and other tools such as economic coercion.”
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Deputy PM Dominic Raab said the war would last months at least.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Raab said: “I think we ought to be under no doubt that our mission with our allies is to ensure Putin fails in Ukraine, and it’s going to take some time.
“We’re talking about months, if not years, and therefore we will have to show some strategic stamina because this is not going to be over in days.”
The deputy PM also appeared to suggest “anyone” taking the Russian President’s illegal orders should be tried for war crimes, not just the leader himself.
Chief of the Defense Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin told the BBC’s Sunday Morning: “This invasion is not going well for Russia… It’s less powerful than it was 10 days ago. Russia cannot continue… So we have to have to have confidence that what we’re doing is the right thing.”
He added: “We do know that some of the lead elements of Russian forces have been decimated by the Ukrainian response.”
But Sir Tony warned Russian aggression could be ramped up. He said: “I think there is a real risk because Russia is struggling with its objectives on the ground in Ukraine – and we’ve seen from Russia’s previous actions in Syria and in Chechnya – where it will turn up the violence, it will lead to more indiscriminate killing and more indiscriminate destruction.”
Boris Johnson will tomorrow tell international leaders “the world is watching” as he urges them to match rhetoric with action over Russia’s invasion with Ukraine.
The PM has set out a six-point plan today, which he hopes global counterparts will accept, ahead of talks with other leaders this week.
Already, 141 nations have denounced the Kremlin’s actions at an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council. Some 38 countries, including the UK, have also led the largest-ever referral to the International Criminal Court.
The PM will hammer home his message when he meets with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte at Downing Street on Monday. Then on Tuesday, Mr Johnson will host leaders of the V4 group of central European nations – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
But Keir Starmer called on Boris Johnson to go “further and faster” in fast-tracking new laws to clamp down on Russian oligarchs in the UK.
Labor is planning to amend the Economic Crime Bill which comes before the Commons on Monday.
The Opposition wants the Government to speed up a planned register so Kremlin-backed Russians have to declare what property they have in the UK within 28 days, rather than the planned six months, giving them time to sell.
Labor also wants oligarchs to be prevented from using their vast wealth to avoid sanctions and criticism through British courts.