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Vladimir Putin is failing in his objectives following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has already lost more than 450 army personnel, according the Ben Wallace.
The defence secretary said the Russian president’s elite Spetsnaz special forces had also failed to hang on to an airport they had initially seized during the first wave of their attack on their neighbour.
Wallace also doubled down on his claim that Putin has “gone full tonto”, insisting “no one else in their right mind” would be behaving the way he is.
Appearing on Sky News barely 24 hours after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the minister said: “Our assessment as of this morning is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives. In fact, it is beyond its hoped-for timetable.
“They’ve lost over 450 personnel and one of the significant airports they were trying to capture with their elite Spetsnaz has failed to be taken, and in fact the Ukrainians have taken it back.
“So I think, contrary to great Russian claims and President Putin’s vision that somehow the Ukrainians would be liberated and would be flocking to his cause, he’s got that completely wrong and the Russian army has failed to deliver on day one its main objective.”
Wallace also rejected Putin’s claims that the military action was about the “demilitarisation” and “de-Nazification” of Ukraine.
He said: “It is about a threat to subsume Ukraine into the Russian Federation and about President Putin’s landgrab.”
Asked about comments he made earlier this week to member of the British army at a private event, Wallace said: “I certainly think he’s gone full tonto. No one else in their right mind would do what we’re seeing on our telly screens.”
Wallace’s comments came as Ukraine’s government pleaded for help to defend itself from the Russian aggression.
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said “horrific rocket strikes” have hit Kyiv in an attack he compared to the city’s 1941 shelling by Nazi Germany.
“Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany,” he tweeted.
“Ukraine defeated that evil and will defeat this one. Stop Putin. Isolate Russia. Severe all ties. Kick Russia out of (everywhere).”
At a special meeting of the Uk cabinet last night, Boris Johnson said it was “a dark day in the history of our continent with Putin launching a cynical and brutal invasion for his own vainglorious ends”.
The prime minister said Putin “must fail”, and that the UK would work with its allies to achieve the restitution of the sovereignty of Ukraine.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.