Ben Wallace warns Russian aggression remains ‘determined’
Ben Wallace has said that Ukraine’s counteroffensive is succeeding, “slowly but surely”, and has the “momentum” against Russia.
He also takes a swipe at pessimistic “group thinkers” with supposed “Russia experience” who said that Ukraine would only hold on “for a few weeks” when the war first broke out.
Mr Wallace’s intervention comes exactly one month after he resigned as Defence Secretary, and became one of the few politicians to depart their job while enjoying widespread approval and popularity.
Mr Wallace said the men and women of Ukraine were “proving to us in NATO how much we have underestimated them”.
He described the Ukrainians as having “the same spirit we possessed in 1939”, and poignantly says pessimists in the West failed to understand that “in war, the most precious commodity of all is hope”.
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Mr Wallace said President Zelensky should now consider conscripting Ukraine’s youth as Russia mobilises its young people to fight in the war.
While he accepted the Ukrainian leader’s desire to “preserve the young for the future”, he suggested they must now be considered to join the fight “as Britain did in 1939 and 1941”.
He used an op-ed for the Telegraph as a rallying cry to demand Britain and its NATO allies “keep the hope going” and back it up with funding and equipment.
He said: “When hope is combined with the right equipment, there is no stopping Ukraine.
“We have a chance to help finish this. The Russian army is cracking. Ukraine has learnt new tactics to overcome horrendous minefields, and the Storm Shadow strikes are devastating Russian HQs.”
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He also observed that we were now witnessing “the beginnings of the battle for Crimea”.
Mr Wallace also made a swipe at Mr Sunak for allowing Germany to overtake the UK as the biggest European donor to Ukraine.
Before leaving office, he asked the Prime Minister to match or increase the £2.3billion pledged to Ukraine this year.
As Defence Secretary, Mr Wallace claims he was frequently confronted with reasons not to carry on supporting the country and seeing the war to an end.
He accused the advice of coming from people who “wouldn’t have known the difference between one end of a rifle and the other”.
Mr Wallace, who when he stepped down was consistently polled as the most popular cabinet minister among Tory members, says Vladimir Putin has an “inescapable flaw”.
He said: “Romance, ego and revenge drove Putin to cross into Ukraine and it will be his undoing. His army has lost more than 2,500 tanks, 6,500 armoured vehicles and nearly 300,000 dead or injured. Not a single commander who led the major Russian units into Ukraine is still in place.
“Putin is desperately grasping at the final two things that can save him – time and the splitting of the international community. Britain can do something about both.”
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