Politics

Russia lost 450 soldiers and ‘failed to achieve objectives’, says Britain



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ussia lost more than 450 army personnel on the first day of full scale war with Ukraine, the defence secretary said on Friday.

Ben Wallace said the elite Russian Spetsnaz had “failed” to capture a key airport or to “deliver their main objectives” after invading on Thursday morning.

Vladimir Putin’s forces are believed to have lost a number of tanks, at least three fighter jets and helicopters and failed to significantly break out of the Donbass region.

Mr Wallace told Sky News that Putin had made a “series of dishonest claims” about Ukraine and his preparation for war.

Ukrainian servicemen are seen next to a destroyed armoured vehicle, which they said belongs to the Russian army, outside Kharkiv, Ukraine

/ REUTERS

“Our assessment as of this morning is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives,” Mr Wallace said.

“In fact, it is behind its hoped for timetable. They’ve lost over 450 personnel and indeed one of the significant airports they were trying to capture with their elite Spetsnaz has failed to be taken.

“In fact, the Ukrainians have taken it back. What that means, I think, is contrary to great Russian claims, and indeed 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.”

However it is feared Russian troops could advance to areas just outside Kyiv on Friday, according to a senior Ukrainian defence official who said the capital was hit with a wave of missile strikes in the early hours of this morning.

More than 130 Ukrainians have so far been killed during Russia’s invasion, with fighting widespread across the country.

Sirens sounded across Kyiv as residents were told to seek refuge in air raid shelters and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded with the West to do more than the package of sanctions announced on Thursday.

Western officials believe that the Kremlin may seek to seize the capital within days and sources said Russia has a history when not achieving its military objective of using “overwhelming fire power” that will result in large numbers of civilian casualties.

But Ukrainian troops have continued to defend positions on four fronts against the advance on Kyiv despite being outnumbered.

Mr Wallace told LBC: “In this short window it shows the determination of the Ukrainians and the inadequacy of some of the Russians.

“The danger is though, that President Putin’s solution to this is more violence. And there’s been a heavy shelling and heavy use of missiles and overnight.”



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