UK says Russia ‘starting to fail’ in Ukraine war

UK defence secretary’s remarks come as Western countries promise $1.55bn more in military aid to Kyiv.

Ukrainian servicemen of "Fireflies" reconnaissance team
The money pledged by a group of 26 countries at a conference in Copenhagen, will be used to supply existing weapons, missiles and ammunition [File: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo]

The British defence secretary has said Russia is unlikely to succeed in occupying Ukraine as Western nations pledged 1.5bn euros ($1.55bn) more to to help boost the Ukrainian military in its fight against Russia.

Ben Wallace said Russia’s invasion had “faltered” and was “starting to fail” as 26 countries agreed to give more financial and military aid to Ukraine at a conference in Copenhagen on Thursday, co-hosted by Wallace and the Danish defence minister Morten Bodskov.

Wallace said it was important to understand that fighting and loss of life was still taking place, but added Russia was “starting to fail in many areas”.

“Their invasion has … constantly been remodified to the extent they are really only focusing in parts of the south and in the east, a long, long way away from their three-day so-called special operation,” he said.

“President Putin will have gambled that come August, come a few months in, we will have all got bored of the conflict and the international community would have gone off in different directions. Well, today is proof of the opposite.”

Wallace hailed the meeting in Copenhagen saying that the pledges made were “all designed to help Ukraine win, to help Ukraine stand up for its sovereignty and indeed to ensure that President Putin’s ambitions fail in Ukraine, as they rightly should”.

The commitments come after the government in Kyiv made repeated appeals to the West to send more weapons, including long-range artillery, as it tries to turn the tide on Russia’s February 24 invasion.

Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov, who was also present at the meeting, thanked European allies for being “reliable partners”.

Denmark's Defence Minister Morten Bodskov speaks during a news conference
Denmark’s Defence Minister Morten Bodskov speaks during a news conference after hosting a donor conference in Copenhagen [Ritzau Scanpix/Philip Davali via Reuters]

He wrote in a tweet, “Increased gas and fuel prices in the West are small price for peace. Ukrainians pay for the peace in rest of Europe by their lives. We must prevail over the killer state and de-occupy our territories, including Crimea. For me, everything impossible is possible, it just takes time.”

Ukraine said earlier this month that it had received another delivery of high-precision heavy weapons from Germany and the United States.

Moscow, which has accused the West of dragging out the conflict by giving Ukraine more arms, says it is conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine aimed at safeguarding Russia’s security against NATO expansion.

Ukraine and its allies accuse Russia of launching an imperial-style war of aggression.

Aid to boost weapons production

The money pledged by the 26 countries will be used to supply existing weapons, missiles and ammunition, increase weapons production for Ukraine, train Ukrainian soldiers, and de-mine war-torn areas in Ukraine.

“We will continue to assist Ukraine in its military needs,” Bodskov told journalists at the end of the conference that brought together European defence ministers to discuss long-term support for the country’s defence against Russia’s invasion.

Defence ministers of Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic signalled willingness to expand productions of artillery systems, munitions, and other military equipments to Ukraine, Bodskov said.

The United Kingdom, which has already donated advanced weapons systems to Ukraine and given thousands of its troops military training, on Thursday pledged an additional 300 million euros ($309 million), including multiple-launch rocket systems and precision-guided M31A1 missiles that can hit targets up to 80km (50 miles) away.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies