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Fears of 'extremely long war' ahead as Putin refuses to halt 'senseless' Ukraine invasion

WorldFears of 'extremely long war' ahead as Putin refuses to halt 'senseless' Ukraine invasion

The brutal war between Russia and Ukraine looks likely to rumble on for the foreseeable future, according to Patrick Wintour. 

The Guardian diplomatic editor told LBC: “Well, the only bright side of this I could possibly see is that both sides realise this could end up being an extremely long war – that it may last a year.

“And do they really want to have that level of bloodshed? And are they sufficiently certain that they are going to come out on the right side of this?

“I think, for instance, Ukraine is now much more confident about the kind of armoury that it’s receiving from the west, and it’s more confident about its ability to at least control a very large part of Ukraine.

“On the other side, I think there’s more doubts within the Russian camp, but they’re not being expressed in public.”

He added: “I think the strategy is to be much tougher with Putin.

“There was some sort of doubts inside the [NATO] alliance to start with, and there were a lot of attempts to try to talk to Putin and Emmanuel Macron many other people spoke to [Putin] thought that they might be able to persuade him that this was a senseless invasion, it would end only in tears.

“I think now there’s a feeling that they must instead be honest with him, and I thought what’s been striking and maybe risky is that the western side is now saying that they think it’s legitimate for their arms to be used by Ukrainian forces possibly inside Russia.

“So that’s escalatory.”

Russia warned Britain on Tuesday that, if it continued to provoke Ukraine to strike targets in Russia, there would be an immediate “proportional response”.

The Kremlin defence ministry cited statements from Britain’s armed forces minister James Heappey who told BBC radio it was entirely legitimate for Ukraine to hunt targets in the depths of Russia to disrupt logistics and supply lines.

“We would like to underline that London’s direct provocation of the Kyiv regime into such actions, if such actions are carried out, will immediately lead to our proportional response,” Russia’s defence ministry said.

“As we have warned, the Russian Armed Forces are in round-the-clock readiness to launch retaliatory strikes with high-precision long-range weapons at decision-making centers in Kyiv.”

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Britain’s Heappey said it was completely legitimate for Ukraine to strike Russian logistics lines and fuel supplies. He acknowledged weapons the international community is now providing have the range to be used in Russia.

Meanwhile, the United States and its allies have met at a German airbase on Tuesday to pledge new packages of ever heavier weapons for Ukraine, brushing off a threat by Moscow that their support for Kyiv could lead to nuclear war.

US  officials have shifted emphasis this week from speaking mainly about helping Ukraine defend itself to bolder talk of a Ukrainian victory that would weaken Russia’s ability to threaten its neighbours.

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