Putin unlikely to succeed in occupying Ukraine, UK defence secretary Ben Wallace says

Ben Wallace discusses Ukraine crisis at conference in Copenhagen, Denmark

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace speaks after co-hosting a donor conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. AFP
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Russian President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to succeed in occupying Ukraine, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “faltered” and is “starting to fail”, Mr Wallace said, as he pledged more financial and military support to the Eastern European nation’s defence.

Denmark joined the UK in offering more aid to Ukraine at a conference in Copenhagen on Thursday, co-hosted by Mr Wallace.

The defence secretary said it was important to understand that fighting and loss of life were still taking place, but added Russia was “starting to fail in many areas”.

“They have failed so far and are unlikely to ever succeed in occupying Ukraine,” he said.

“Their 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.”

He said that three days have turned into more than 150 days, with huge significant losses of both equipment and personnel.

President Putin will have gambled that come August, come a few months in, we will have all got bored of the conflict and the international community would have gone off in different directions. Well, today is proof of the opposite,” said the defence secretary.

“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.”

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Mr Wallace said allies will need to soon start buying 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 itself against Russia’s invasion.

These will include multiple-launch rocket systems as well as precision-guided missiles, which can strike targets up to 80 kilometres away and are designed to defend against Russian heavy artillery.

“Our continued support sends a very clear message: Britain and the international community remain opposed to this illegal war and will stand shoulder to shoulder, providing defensive military aid to Ukraine to help them defend against Putin’s invasion,” said Mr Wallace.

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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 all announced they will be supporting the programme.

The UK has previously supplied Ukraine with various weapons, including the NLAW anti-tank missile launcher, which was considered instrumental in the initial defence against Moscow’s invasion.

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It comes as the International Fund for Ukraine has been expanded, with £250 million ($305m) of the £1 billion total given by the UK to provide military equipment and other support, aimed at ensuring the provision of new weapons and the maintenance and repair of existing kit.

Updated: August 12, 2022, 6:57 AM
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