The war in Ukraine, originally expected by Russian commander to be over in a matter of weeks, could drag on for a decade according to the UK's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
In a speech last night the minister added that Britain should send “heavy weapons, tanks and aircraft” to Ukraine to help the fight against Russian aggression.
“This is a time for courage, not caution,” Ms Truss said.
Saying that Britain and its NATO allies must “keep going further and faster to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine,” Ms Truss warned that “we must be prepared for the long haul”.
Within government, ministers are said to be concerned start an increasingly desperate Putin may resort to using chemical weapons, or even order a nuclear strike to break Ukrainians’ spirit.
And he may not even stop there. In a warning to any nations that might consider sending aid to the besieged country, the Russian leader hinted that he might use his new “Satan 2” hypersonic missile against countries that support Ukraine – including Britain.
“If someone intends to interfere in what is going on from the outside they must know that constitutes an unacceptable strategic threat to Russia. They must know that our response to counter strikes will be lightning fast – fast!” he stressed.
“We have all the weapons we need for this. No one else can brag about these weapons, and we won't brag about them. But we will use them”.
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The Satan 2, or Sarmat missile, can carry ten nuclear warheads at incredible speeds. Missiles based in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia would take roughly 16 minutes from launch to hit London.
The 15,880mph weapon is described as being “unstoppable”.
But Ms Truss – widely tipped as Boris Johnson's eventual successor – described the Russian leader as a “desperate rogue operator” who should not be rewarded for his aggression and vowed to continue to support Ukraine
She said that Putin's Russia was even less trustworthy than the old Soviet Union.
There are fears Putin could send his invasion force into the neighbouring states of Moldova or Georgia if his assault on Ukraine is successful.
Already, there have been reports of explosions in Transnistria, a Moldovan province that known to be on Putin’s hit list.
It’s not yet known who was responsible for these incidents but Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has blamed Russia, saying: "The goal is obvious – to destabilise the situation in the region, to threaten Moldova.
"They show that if Moldova supports Ukraine, there will be certain steps."
Top Russian general, Rustam Minnekayev, said "control over the south of Ukraine is another way out to Transnistria, where there are also cases of oppression of the Russian-speaking population”.
The expansion of the war beyond Ukraine’s borders is a disturbing sign that the Russian attack is set to bloom into a wider conflict.
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