Russian base bombed by Ukrainian troops using NATO Howitzer
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A Russian diplomat quit his role this week and criticised the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine – a sign that Vladimir Putin’s invasion is dividing opinion in the country. Boris Bondarev, a counsellor at the Russian permanent mission to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, said he is “ashamed” of his country and accused the Kremlin of “warmongering, lies and hatred.” He also said that other Russian diplomats have similar feelings about the war but are unlikely to speak out. The Russian military has suffered heavy losses in Ukraine, another issue which is reportedly causing concern amongst Moscow’s political class.
Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine ambassador to the UK, has accused Putin of sending the lives of his soldiers to the “meat grinder”.
Speaking to Times Radio, he said: “Many people believe that Russia has already lost; they offered the idea to their own people for a three day invasion. They believed they could do it, and now it is 86 days of invasion.
“So politically they have already lost, but many people believe Putin can admit the idea that they have to rethink. They are still throwing more and more lives of Russian soldiers into the meat grinder, and we are fighting with them.
“Thousands of people will die until the moment somebody resolves it. Somebody within the Russian ranks will decide enough is enough, something will happen to Putin, or maybe he will come to his senses and see he is not gaining anything. He is just throwing his own nation back.”
British intelligence recently suggested that Russia has likely lost a third of its invasion force, an indicator to the extent in which the country has struggled in Ukraine.
The Ministry of Defence said the Russian campaign in the east of Ukraine had “lost momentum” and was now “significantly behind schedule”.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “Putin must face a sustained defeat in Ukraine, Russia must be contained and such aggression must never happen again.
“Ukraine’s security must come from it being able to defend itself. Allies must support Ukraine’s move to NATO-standard equipment, immediately providing artillery, training and the required expertise.”
A resolution to the war does not appear to be in sight, however, as Ukraine says Russia’s attack on Donbas is one of the biggest on European soil since World War 2.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, also urged allies to “speed up deliveries of weapons and ammunition, especially MRLS (multiple rocket launch systems), long-range artillery, APCs (armoured personnel carriers)“.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Putin is the only Russian official he was willing to meet with to discuss how to end the war.
Addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, he said: “The president of the Russian Federation decides it all“.
“I cannot accept any kind of meeting with anyone coming from the Russian Federation but the president.”
His comments come as Russia is accused of using food supplies as a weapon.
The European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said “global cooperation” was the “antidote to Russia’s blackmail”.
Also speaking in Davos, Ms von der Leyen added: “In Russian-occupied Ukraine, the Kremlin’s army is confiscating grain stocks and machinery (…) And Russian warships in the Black Sea are blockading Ukrainian ships full of wheat and sunflower seeds.”
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