Russian army losses due to 'poor and arrogant leadership', says Defence Secretary

8 March 2022, 08:43 | Updated: 8 March 2022, 09:09

By Daisy Stephens

Russia has suffered huge losses because of 'poor and arrogant leadership', the Defence Secretary has told LBC.

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When asked he he recognised the figure of 11,000 Russian troops killed that was released by Ukrainian authorities, Ben Wallace said he could not "verify" the figure but said it was true the Russian army was group to suffer the biggest losses.

"The overwhelming single group of people that have lost their lives are the Russian military," he told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"They have taken significant casualties because of the poor leadership, poor plan, poor equipment and the arrogance of the Russian leadership in sending them to invade a sovereign country."

He said the military column - which was heading towards Kyiv in the early days of the invasion - had stalled, and cited reports that Ukrainian special forces had destroyed up to 30 Russian helicopters.

Russia was finding it "very slow-going", he said, partly because Ukraine have the "moral component" - which "in war can be everything" - and partly because of the brave fight they were staging.

"Yes, they've surrounded a number of cities on the east of the country," he said.

"But what you're finding is Ukrainians are either counterattacking or repelling them when they try and take over the city itself."

Mr Wallace also told Nick that, even if Putin is "eventually successful" the fact his army is "already half worn out" could be his downfall.

"If Putin is eventually successful - and there is a big if now... the cost it will take him to occupy [Ukraine] and control it will be in the hundreds of thousands of troops will be required," he said.

"His army is already half worn out.

"It is in that phase, the occupation phase, that they would lose even greater numbers of soldiers and slowly but surely his army would be exhausted, and I think that is the bit he hasn't even thought through because of his arrogance that somehow the Ukrainians would welcome as a liberator."

It is day 12 of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In that time, Russian forces have launched a number of attacks on major cities, but in recent days have failed to make any significant gains.

Mr Wallace said Russia had started shelling indiscriminately as a result, targeting a number of humanitarian evacuation corridors.

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On Monday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed hunt down and kill "every b*****d" who targeted fleeing civilians.

"How many families have died in Ukraine?" He said in a televised address.

"We will not forgive. We will not forget."

He continued: "We will punish everyone who committed atrocities in this war. On our land. We will find every b*****d. Which shot at our cities, our people. Which bombed our land. Which launched rockets. Which gave the order and pressed 'start'.

"There will be no quiet place on this Earth for you. Except for the grave."

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