Russia is 'on the back foot' in Ukraine says Elwood
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The Ukrainian counter-offensive operation has succeeded in reclaiming swathes of Russian-occupied territory from Vladimir Putin’s troops. As Russian soldiers continue the war “on the back foot,” President Putin is at risk of losing his control over the Kremlin as tensions rise over Moscow’s poor military performance. Chair of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood has warned Russia’s retreat in Ukraine could “raise the prospect” of a nuclear attack as Vladimir Putin moves to salvage his tattered reputation.
Speaking on LBC, Mr Ellwood reported: “Russia is on the back foot in Ukraine.”
He continued: “Putin has staked his reputation, indeed his future, on this war and it’s not going well.
“The third largest army in the world has been pushed back, in part because of the weapons systems that Britain and allies have provided, but also because of the stoicism, the heroism of the Ukrainian people.”
The UK has pledged £2.3 billion in military aid for Ukraine, a figure Prime Minister Liz Truss has pledged to match moving forward in 2023 as the war continues.
Mr Ellwood, who formerly sat as a Conservative MP but now stands as an Independent in the House of Commons, warned President Putin’s humiliation in Ukraine could raise the threat of nuclear attack against the West.
He said: “Being backed into the corner does raise the prospect, low as it may be at the moment, that he could resort to nuclear weapons. To be clear, this is part of Russian doctrine.
“The reason why he had those sham referenda was to turn chunks of the Donbas the size of Portugal into Russian territory, giving him the right to claim, the licence, that he would claim to use these nuclear weapons.”
The Kremlin conducted a series of pseudo-referendums in occupied regions of Ukraine before formally declaring the territories would be annexed and become part of the Russian Federation.
Read more: NATO to launch nuclear drill after Putin’s ‘dangerous’ threats
Vladimir Putin has renewed threats of nuclear aggression against NATO allies of Ukraine since announcing a partial mobilisation order for an additional 300,000 Russian troops to be drafted into the military.
He accused Western powers of “nuclear blackmail” and blamed Ukraine for shelling close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control. The Russian President warned NATO he would be willing to “make use of all weapon systems available” if the “territorial integrity” of his country came under attack.
Tensions spiked again over the weekend after the Kerch Bridge, the route connecting Russia and annexed Crimea, was damaged in a severe explosion which collapsed part of the motorway into the sea.
Chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin reported: “This was a terrorist act which had been prepared by Ukrainian special services with the aim of destroying a large civilian infrastructure facility of crucial significance to the Russian Federation, especially to Crimea.”
Despite Russian allegations, Ukrainian authorities have not claimed responsibility for an attack on the Kerch Bridge.
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In response to the Kerch Bridge explosion, Russian forces launched a string of missile attacks against Kyiv – a notable escalation in the conflict as Ukraine’s capital has not been struck by the Kremlin’s military in months.
The G7 nations have released a joint statement condemning President Putin’s continued campaign of violence in Ukraine.
In addition, the G7 statement made particular note of Vladimir Putin’s “irresponsible nuclear rhetoric” which the alliance warned was “putting global peace and security at risk”.
In a definitive response to the repeated threat of nuclear attack, the G7 said: “We reaffirm that any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences.”
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