Vladimir Putin yet to achieve any of his strategic objectives in six-month Ukraine war, says UK

·3-min read
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has not gone according to plan (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has not gone according to plan (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin has yet to achieve any of his strategic objectives in invading Ukraine despite the war now going on for more than six months, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday.

He also told the Commons that more than 25,000 Russian soldiers are now believed to have been killed in the Russian president’s war.

Ukrainian forces were making “real gains” in their counter-offensive in the south of the country in “close and hard” fighting, he added.

But they were also suffering losses as they sought to seize back territory around the city of Kherson which was captured by Russian soldiers earlier in the conflict.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers are believed to have been killed, or injured, in the war, with thousands of civilians also reported to have died in Russian shellings and air strikes.

Updating MPs on the conflict, Mr Wallace said: “Russia continues to lose significant equipment and personnel.

“It is estimated to date that over 25,000 Russian soldiers have lost their lives, and in all if you include killed casualties, captured, or the now reported tens of thousands of deserters over 80,000 dead or injured and the other categories.

“This will have long-lasting impact on Russia’s army and its future combat effectiveness. Russia has yet to achieve any of its strategic objectives. And we are now on day 194 of what was envisaged in total to be a month-long campaign.”

Mr Putin ordered his invasion on February 24, with his plans believed to be to seize the capital Kyiv within days in a lightning strike, and topple Volodymyr Zelensky’s government.

Volodymyr Zelensky and Boris Johnson in Kyiv (PA Media)
Volodymyr Zelensky and Boris Johnson in Kyiv (PA Media)

But Ukraine’s forces repelled Russian advances which were dogged by logistical problems, including shortages of food and fuel, and poor morale among some military units.

Russians generals were forced to order a retreat from around Kyiv and other swathes of northern Ukraine to refocus Mr Putin’s military campaign on the eastern Donbas industrial region.

His forces have captured a large area of this region but are struggling to make quick advances.

Seeking to turn the tide in the war this autumn, Mr Zelensky has ordered a counter-offensive in the south.

Mr Wallace told the Commons “Ukraine has inflicted serious damage on a range of river crossings with the aim of restricting Russian logistical support.”

He went on: “As of today, the Ukrainian army are engaging with Russian forces using both artillery and ground-level operations.

“They are making real gains but understandably, as we have seen elsewhere in this conflict, the fighting is close and hard and Ukraine are suffering losses associated with an attacking force.”

The Defence Secretary said the Government was working on an additional package of support for Ukraine, having already supplied thousands of anti-tank weapons, drones and military vehicles.

“The United Kingdom continues to give military aid... to the Ukrainian armed forces to help resist the illegal invasion,” he explained.

“The total funding committed to this support is £2.3 billion.”

He stressed that the UK has helped to train 4,700 Ukrainian soldiers so far.