PM: Putin using 'barbaric and indiscriminate tactics against civilians'

The Ministry of Defence warned of an increased risk of civilian casualties.

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Latest developments:

  • The UK has become the first country to pass a law banning ships with “any Russian connection” from entering its ports, transport secretary Grant Shapps has said
  • In a speech in Warsaw, Boris Johnson said Vladimir Putin had made a “colossal mistake” by invading Ukraine
  • Ukrainian ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko has warned that Russian invaders could try to starve civilians in major cities in a bid to win the war
  • Ukrainian ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko has warned that Russian invaders could try to starve civilians in major cities in a bid to win the war
  • The Ministry of Defence said the use of heavy artillery in densely populated urban areas greatly increases the risk of civilian casualties
  • Johnson said hundreds of civilians including growing numbers of children had been killed in bombardments that saw rockets fired at blocks of flats
  • Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, has faced heavy bombardment including of its central square
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi called the attack “an outright, undisguised terror”

Boris Johnson has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of using “barbaric and indiscriminate tactics against innocent civilians”.

The Prime Minister faced an emotional plea from an Ukrainian anti-corruption campaigner at a press conference in Warsaw.

Daria Kaleniuk said: “You’re coming to Poland, you’re not coming to Kyiv, Prime Minister, you are not coming to Lviv, because you’re afraid, because NATO is not willing to defend, because NATO is afraid of the World War III, but it is already started and these are Ukrainian children who are there taking the hit.”

Johnson responded: “Look, I just want to say that I’m acutely conscious that there is not enough
that we can do as the UK Government to help in the way that you want.”

On the sixth day of Russia’s invasion, artillery fire has stepped up north of the capital Kyiv, and around the second-largest city Kharkiv and the city of Chernihiv.

The Ministry of Defence said the use of heavy artillery in densely populated urban areas greatly increases the risk of civilian casualties.

Johnson said hundreds of civilians including growing numbers of children had been killed in bombardments that saw rockets fired at blocks of flats.

Speaking having flown to Poland on Tuesday morning, the Prime Minister said Putin had made a “colossal mistake” and had lied to his people and his soldiers.

On Monday, the Russian Armed Forces admitted suffering casualties for the first time.

An intelligence update from the Ministry of Defence said Russia had shifted to nighttime operations in an attempt to reduce losses.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.No10 Downing St
Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We must accept the grim reality that Putin will continue to tighten the vice and, if you go by the size and firepower of Vladimir Putin’s war machine, the odds have always been heavily against Ukrainian armed forces,” Johnson said in Warsaw.

“Putin has lied to his people and to his troops about how this conflict would go, and he has now been caught out in that lie,” he said.

“They have not been welcomed to Ukraine as he prophesised, their tanks have not been cheered in the streets or garlanded with flowers.

Convoy north of Ivankiv, Ukraine.Satellite image ©2022 Maxar TechnologiesSatellite image ©2022
Convoy north of Ivankiv, Ukraine.Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

“Instead, Ukrainians have mounted an astonishing and tenacious resistance.”

Satellite images released on Tuesday showed a large military convoy north of Kyiv, estimated to be 40 miles long.

People and Ukrainian troops inside the city have been bracing for a siege as Russian forces surround and isolate Kyiv.

Ukrainian ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko has warned that Russian invaders could try to starve civilians in major cities in a bid to win the war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin briefs the Russia Security Council on the invasion. (Russian Pool)ITV
Russian President Vladimir Putin briefs the Russia Security Council on the invasion. (Russian Pool)

He told the Commons Foreign Affairs committee that Putin was facing a “lack of progress”, with civilians meeting his tanks with “molotov cocktails from their cars” rather than the “flowers” he dreamed of.

“The support and resilience is going so much against his plans and in Russia themselves start asking questions ‘what are we doing’,” the ambassador said.

“I believe they might use the tactics you described in the second part, try to block our cities, try to soften political position, try and maybe … some riots in Ukraine, because of the lack of food, against the Government.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi called the shelling of Kharkiv’s Freedom Square “an outright, undisguised terror”.

“After that, Russia is a terrorist state,” he said, “No one will forgive. No one will forget.”