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Britain’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced a list of the latest statistics from the first two weeks of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and warned the situation on the ground remains “grave”.
Addressing MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Wallace said while the Russians clearly had the upper hand on military hardware and troop numbers, they lacked “the moral component so often needed for victory”.
The defence secretary said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “arrogant assumption that he would be welcomed as a liberator has crumbled as fast as his troops’ morale”.
As a result of the worsening crisis Britain has increased its funding for Ukraine to £220 million ($288m), which includes £120 million of humanitarian aid, Mr Wallace announced.
Mr Wallace cited the latest figures released by Ukraine which showed that as of March 6 Russia had lost:
· 285 tanks
· 985 armoured fighting vehicles
· 109 artillery systems
· 50 rocket launch systems
· 44 aircraft
· 48 helicopters
· 11,000 soldiers
However, Mr Wallace stressed that the Ukrainian figures had not been verified by Britain.
Tactical battalion groups
At the beginning of the invasion, Russia had between 110 and 120 battalion tactical groups.
This was almost double the 65 groups on the Ukrainian side.
Russia has “committed 65 per cent of their entire land forces and indisputably are in possession of overwhelming firepower and armour” Mr Wallace said, but stressed that invading troops are growing weary.
More than 1,000 civilians have been killed since the invasion began, Mr Wallace said, citing official figures. He said the true figure is thought to be much higher.
Ukraine has accused Russia of attacking civilians as they tried to flee under humanitarian corridor agreements.
Russian troops have damaged or destroyed about 211 schools in Ukraine.
Kindergartens have also come under attack.
Mr Wallace said Britain had sent 3,615 NLAW anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.
More than 900 man-portable air defence missiles have been sent to the Ukrainians from the international community.
Britain is exploring the possibility of donating Starstreak high-velocity man-portable anti-air missiles to Ukraine, the defence secretary said.
He said the UK would soon start sending anti-tank javelins.
Mr Wallace said when Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24 they had three main goals: to encircle and capture Kyiv, encircle Ukrainian forces near the borders, and invade from southern Ukraine to link up with other forces via Mariupol.
He said they have failed to effectively target Ukrainian air defences, “preventing total air dominance”.
So far, Russia has captured the southern port city of Berdyansk, along with the cities of Kherson and Melitopol. While troops have encircled other cities including the capital they have yet to take full control of them.