Vladimir Putin now knows he’s ‘not invincible’ after Ukraine losses, says Ben Wallace
UK defence minister Ben Wallace says Vladimir Putin has found out he is not invincible and that Russia is not a superpower after embarrassing setback in the war with Ukraine..
The Defence Secretary said the authoritarian leader’s ‘strategic assumptions seem to be wrong all over the place’ and that he is facing discontent among troops sent to fight in Ukraine.
The 52-year-old said months of war, which has seen Russia forced to call up hundreds of thousands of reserves in the wake of tremendous losses to its professional army, means now ‘the basic Ukrainian soldier is better than the basic Russian soldier’.
The Secretary of State for Defence, who served in the Scots Guards for seven years before becoming an MP, said it was vital the international community continues to stand with Ukraine as it battles against Putin’s forces.
He added that the authoritarian leader would have no qualms shoving millions of people ‘into a meat grinder with no rules, no regard for human lives and innocent people and civilians’.
He made the remarks in an interview with the Evening Standard, in which he said Putin had believed his ‘own hype’ and ‘counted tanks on the parade ground and presume you are invincible and you are not’.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace (pictured) says Vladimir Putin is realising he is no longer invincible as the war in Ukraine continues
Mr Wallace says that Putin’s (pictured) ‘strategic assumptions seem to be wrong all over the place’
The war in Ukraine has been raging since Russia’s illegal invasion in February. Pictured are Ukrainian solders firing weapons towards Russian forces near Toretsk in the Donetsk region today
Mr Wallace said that the conflict, which has turned a large part of eastern Europe into a warzone needs to end in defeat for Putin.
He said that while ‘superpowers have lost wars before’, the eight-month war in Ukraine will have led Putin to realise ‘he’s not a superpower’.
He told the paper that Ukraine has been underestimated and Russia overestimated at every step, but that the number of people Putin can ‘shove into a meat grinder’ is on his side.
He said: ‘If that is successful, that will send a message across the whole world that that’s how you win wars. We cannot, the international community, accept that.’
Yesterday leaders of the G7 reiterated their demand for Russia to withdraw all troops and military forces from Ukraine and threatened ‘severe consequences’ if Putin launches a nuclear strike on its neighbour.
Fears that the Kremlin could ‘go nuclear’ have risen in recent weeks, driven by an attack on the Crimean Bridge which has crippled supply lines between Russia and southern Ukraine.
Ptuin labelled the attack, which Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for, an ‘act of terrorism’ and today the FSB released an x-ray image of the 23-ton bomb they say caused the damage.
Flame and smoke rise from the Crimean Bridge connecting Russian mainland and the Crimean peninsula over the Kerch Strait, in Kerch, Crimea, October 8, 2022
Russia’s FSB spy agency has revealed a X-ray that they claim shows a 23-ton bomb disguised as industrial plastic sheeting which blew up the Crimean Bridge
The FSB claims the bomb began its journey in Odesa and was then shipped across four countries over the course of two months before blowing up on the bridge
While the Kremlin played down the prospect of a nuclear strike in retaliation, on Monday it launched its biggest barrage of missile strikes on Ukrainian cities since the beginning of the war, killing at least 11 people and wounding scores more.
Mr Wallace says that despite the attacks, the momentum in the war is still with Ukraine as it makes ‘progress’ both in the northeastern and southern arenas of the war.
He said: ‘We are pretty confident the momentum is still with Ukraine and Russia is facing catastrophic loss of morale, poor equipment, significant ammunition stocks scarcity and political fraughtness.
‘His (Putin) strategic assumptions seem to be wrong all over the place. Even yesterday (Monday), firing scant missiles at random civilian locations, when you should be firing them at military targets, is not a strategic or a clever use of your finite resources.’
He added that a ‘total lack of leadership professionalism’ is killing Russian solders ‘in the thousands’.
The MP for Wyre and Preston North added that UK training given to Ukrainian troops was also helping turn the tide, while they are said to be better equipped than their Russian counterparts as winter approaches.
Today reports in Russia indicated that Putin is rounding up homeless people and sending them to the front lines as part of his mobilisation programme.
Security officers in Moscow have been taking men from charity food banks and hostels where migrant workers live, Russian news outlet Mediazona said.
This comes weeks after Putin declared a ‘partial’ mobilisation in a desperate attempt to turn the tide of his ailing war effort after a series of embarrassing setbacks.
The Russian independent publication spoke to Food Not Bombs, a charity group working in the Russian capital, and heard how it had seen dozens of homeless men taken off the street to military enlistment offices in recent weeks.
Russia is rounding up homeless people and sending them to the front lines of Ukraine as park of Vladimir Putin’s military mobilisation, according to local reports. Pictured: Russian recruits fire rifles in the Rostov-on-Don region in southern Russia, Tuesday, October 4, 2022
In September, Putin declared a ‘partial’ mobilisation in a desperate attempt to turn the tide of his ailing war effort after a series of embarrassing setbacks. Pictured: Russian recruits gather to take a train at a railway station in Prudboi, Volgograd region of Russia, September 29
Russian conscripted man says goodbye to relatives at a recruiting office during Russia’s partial military mobilisation in Moscow, Russia, 12 October. Moscow is aiming to recruit 300,000
A Food Not Bombs representative told Mediazona: ‘A 60-year-old man was taken away, then he was released and came back.
‘He told me that they were taken to the military commissariat, where many people who had been called up for war were standing in line. He was told that he didn’t fit the age criteria and that they only take men up to 45 years old.’
The representative said while police ‘used a little force’, they exerted pressure in other ways – suggesting there would be ‘punishment’ for not signing up.
Other witnesses have shared similar stories.
‘The police come here without anyone asking. They see a queue of people waiting for food, and then they grab them by the scruff of the neck, against their will,’ the head of the Salvation Hangar, a Christian Orthodox homeless charity, told the outlet.
He said the homeless men are loaded onto buses and taken to military enlistment offices. More than 50 people were later released, he said, while those who did not have passports or documentation were taken to a police station.