Ukraine may be able to withstand the Russian invasion for “as long as we can supply them” with weaponry and “for as long as their morale holds up,” the former head of the UK’s Defence Intelligence has said.
Air Marshal Philip Osborn said on March 20 that the Ukrainians have been “amazing” in their resistance so far.
He told Sky News: “We need to bear in mind that they have been preparing for this. This, for most of the West started three weeks ago. For Ukraine, this started nearly a decade ago. They have had time to prepare and think. They have also got a strength of will and the application of good weaponry.
“Frankly, I think they will hold out as long as we can supply them and for as long as their morale holds up, and those are two very easy things to say but really challenging to do.”
He added, “Focusing on supporting a brave people to do what is right for them has to be one of those things that the West does to show strength and resolution.”
In contrast to Ukraine’s resistance, Osborn said, Russia’s military campaign is “pretty demoralised, pretty stuck, and pretty stalled.”
Russian forces are “demoralised because they were poorly prepared and proven to be inadequate,” and are now stalled because they have “lost momentum.”
He added: “We are seeing them pull resources and manpower from across Russia, even from Syria, and that is not a good indication for a supposed superpower. They are stalled because they are running out of options.
“Really what is left to them now is to double down on brute force to put pressure on the Ukrainian government.”
According to the latest intelligence update from the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD), Russian forces made only “limited progress” in capturing a number of cities in Eastern Ukraine.
“Instead, Russia has increased its indiscriminate shelling of urban areas resulting in widespread destruction and large numbers of civilian casualties,” it said.
Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, told Sky News that the situation in her country is becoming “more and more severe.”
“Russia has committed nearly all possible war crimes which humanity has seen over the Second World War,” she said.
She said Ukrainians are continuing to fight for their country but “it’s absolutely clear that only a Ukrainian army, and only a Ukrainian president, will not be able to withstand it alone.”
She called on political leaders from around the world, including the United States, the European Union, and Asia, to establish an anti-war coalition.
PA Media contributed to this report.