VLADIMIR Putin is 'weeks behind' schedule and will look to escalate his attacks, becoming more 'unpredictable' as he prepares for a long war.

According to a senior US defence official, Russian forces are several weeks behind where Vladimir Putin expected, after shifting the focus of military operations to Ukraine's eastern Donbas.

Speaking in a briefing call with reporters on Tuesday, the official said that Putin is "easily two weeks, or maybe even more, behind where he wanted to be in the east".

In the US, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, said that Putin is now 'preparing for a prolonged conflict' in Ukraine.

Avril said: “We assess President Putin is preparing for prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas."

“The uncertain nature of the battle, which is developing into a war of attrition, combined with the reality that Putin faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia’s current conventional military capabilities likely means the next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory.”

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up-to-the-minute updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    MPs warn Britain lacks 'battle-winning capabilities'

    Britain's armed forces may lack the "modern battle-winning capabilities" they need to meet the demands of future warfare, MPs have warned.

    The Commons Public Accounts Committee said the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a reminder of the "risks and responsibilities" which come with the UK's membership of Nato.

    But while other countries were developing new capabilities such as hypersonic weapons, the committee said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was forced to address "capability gaps" in the existing forces.

    Despite a £16.5 billion budget increase in the four years to 2024-25, it expressed frustration at the "complacency" within the MoD over the affordability of its equipment plan.

    The Government Integrated Review of foreign policy and defence last year identified Russia as "the most acute threat" to national security.

    However the committee said it was concerned that recent events meant it still "downplays" the scale of the threat Moscow poses to the UK's interests.

    "We are concerned that the department may not have identified all the modern battle-winning capabilities our armed forces need, and also that it is not developing its existing large programmes with sufficient urgency," it said.

    "The invasion of Ukraine highlights rapid technological advances by other potential adversaries beg serious questions about the pace, scope and ambition of the department's equipment plan."

    The committee said that while the MoD was beginning to develop next-generation systems, there was "relatively little money" to exploit promising research during the coming decade and a lack of clarity as to whether they would be truly "battle-winning".

  • Joseph Gamp

    Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

    PICTURES of women and children fleeing the horror of Ukraine’s devastated towns and cities have moved Sun readers to tears.

    Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine Fund.

    Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

    Donate here to help The Sun’s fund

    Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

    £3 — text SUN£3
    £5 — text SUN£5
    £10 — text SUN£10

    Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile

    The Ukraine Crisis Appeal will support people in areas currently affected and those potentially affected in the future by the crisis.

    In the unlikely event that the British Red Cross raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help them prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters anywhere in the world.

    For more information visit https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/disaster-fund

  • Joseph Gamp

    Liz Truss hits out at ‘deliberate and malicious’ Russian cyber attack

    The UK, US and EU have publicly blamed Russia for a cyberattack on communications company Viasat an hour before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

    The attack was aimed at the Ukrainian military but hit civilian internet users in Ukraine and central Europe.

    Intelligence from the UK and US indicated Moscow was behind a series of cyber incidents in the run-up to the invasion.

    The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has assessed that Russian military intelligence was almost certainly involved in the January 13 attacks on Ukrainian government websites and the deployment of Whispergate destructive malware.

    The NCSC also assesses it is almost certain Russia was responsible for the subsequent cyberattack affecting Viasat on February 24 as Moscow’s forces prepared to invade.

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “This is clear and shocking evidence of a deliberate and malicious attack by Russia against Ukraine which had significant consequences on ordinary people and businesses in Ukraine and across Europe.

    “We will continue to call out Russia’s malign behaviour and unprovoked aggression across land, sea and cyberspace, and ensure it faces severe consequences.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    Putin would need to send in 600,000 troops to defeat ukraine warns ex-NATO commander

    Putin could escalate the war in Ukraine by sending in 600,000 troops and may decide to launch a tactical nuclear strike, a former NATO commander has warned.

    Sir James Everard, who served as NATO‘s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said the only way out for Putin now was to “significantly escalate” his forces in Ukraine or send in the nukes.

    Speaking with The Sun Online, the commander said war-hungry Vlad – who had been expected to announce all-out war against Ukraine at today’s Victory Day parade – was now “in trouble”.

    Sir James warned said Putin faces being toppled by his generals if he didn’t secure a solid victory in Ukraine soon.

    “He is in a terrible place. It was entirely of his own making,” Sir James said.

    “I can’t see him achieving his objectives without escalating conventionally.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    UK must take a 'whole society approach' to cyber security amid Russia war

    A "whole of society" approach to cyber security is needed to protect the UK amid Russia's war in Ukraine, a Government minister will warn.

    Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay is expected to tell the National Cyber Security Centre's (NCSC) CyberUK conference in Newport, Wales, on Wednesday that Russia still poses a significant threat to the UK.

    He will warn one major Russian-based organised crime cyber group has been behind failed ransomware attempts in the UK to steal personal data in order to exchange it for a ransom payment, with 53 victim reports in the past year.

    Mr Barclay, the minister responsible for cyber security, is due to say: "It is vital that we adopt a 'whole of society' approach to cyber security.

    "It's a job for us all. Preserving our core values of democracy and free speech while keeping people safe online – as we are doing through our Online Safety Bill – depends on the UK having robust cyber defences.

    "We will achieve these by harnessing our collective strengths and acting as one. It is for this reason that our National Cyber Strategy treats the cyber domain no longer as a niche concern simply for the IT team – but as a wide-ranging grand initiative.

    "Responsible, durable, effective cyber power cannot be achieved by government alone; we want to see industry, universities, schools and individual citizens getting involved."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Ukraine delivers energetic Eurovision semi final performance

    Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra has delivered an energetic performance of its song Stefania in the first semi-final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.

    They are among the 17 countries taking to the stage from Turin, Italy on Tuesday evening, with 10 acts to be voted through to the Grand Final on Saturday.

    The Ukrainian act is the favourite to win currently, with bookmaker William Hill placing them at 8/13 odds, as the country continues to resist Russian forces.

    The group was dressed in elaborate outfits including two members in long multicoloured fringed ensembles and others in traditional patterns.

    Their performance, which combined rap and Ukrainian folklore, went down well with the audience as cheered the group on and many Ukrainian flags were waved.

    Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, who is commentating for the BBC Three coverage of the semi-final, explained: "Because of the current situation, the band weren't able to meet to rehearse until about six weeks ago."

    He added: "Frontman Oleg joked that he doesn't think the lack of rehearsal time will affect their performance because they're very attractive men."

    At the end of the performance the group thanked everyone for supporting Ukraine.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russian army using ‘mobile crematoriums’ 

    Russian soldiers are using “mobile crematoriums” to cover up their own war crimes, as well as the true extent of their army’s death toll in Ukraine, according to the UK Defence Secretary.

    Ben Wallace said Putin‘s commanders in Ukraine had refused to tell the truth throughout the war, in response to Russia‘s Victory Parade in Moscow to mark the end of the Second World War.

    In a speech on Monday at the National Army Museum in London, he said: “Since February we have witnessed a systemic refusal to tell the truth up the chain of command, and it is playing out.

    “Consider the fact alone that mobile crematoria trundle around the battlefields not just to hide Russian war crimes, they are for their own soldiers’ corpses as well.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    US tests sci-fi hypersonic missile

    THE US military has successfully tested a hypersonic missile prototype that can travel fives times the speed of sound.

    That’s according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which has been testing a Lockheed Martin hypersonic missile.

    The weapon in question is called the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC).

    This is the second successful flight test of the vehicle during this project.

    Russia is also said to be working on similar hypersonic missiles and claimed it tested one successfully last year.

    Hypersonic missiles can travel over five times the speed of sound and lots of other countries are working on the super fast and destructive military tech.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Ukraine's first president Leonid Kravchuk dies: Kyiv mayor

    Leonid Kravchuk, the first president of post-Soviet Ukraine, died on Tuesday, Kyiv's mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

    "Today the first president of independent Ukraine passed away," Klitschko wrote on Telegram.

    He also praised Kravchuk for "talent, a strong character and knowledge".

  • Joseph Gamp

    Liz Truss hits out at 'deliberate and malicious' Russian cyber attack

    The UK, US and EU have publicly blamed Russia for a cyberattack on communications company Viasat an hour before Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

    The attack was aimed at the Ukrainian military but hit civilian internet users in Ukraine and central Europe.

    Intelligence from the UK and US indicated Moscow was behind a series of cyber incidents in the run-up to the invasion.

    The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has assessed that Russian military intelligence was almost certainly involved in the January 13 attacks on Ukrainian government websites and the deployment of Whispergate destructive malware.

    The NCSC also assesses it is almost certain Russia was responsible for the subsequent cyberattack affecting Viasat on February 24 as Moscow's forces prepared to invade.

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: "This is clear and shocking evidence of a deliberate and malicious attack by Russia against Ukraine which had significant consequences on ordinary people and businesses in Ukraine and across Europe.

    "We will continue to call out Russia's malign behaviour and unprovoked aggression across land, sea and cyberspace, and ensure it faces severe consequences."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Over 40 bodies found under east Ukraine building

    Rescuers today found the bodies of 44 civilians under the rubble of a destroyed building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Izyum, now under Russian control, the regional governor said.

    "The bodies of 44 civilians were found in Izyum under the rubble of a five-storey building which was destroyed by the occupiers in early March," Oleg Synegubov, governor of the eastern Kharkiv region, said on Telegram.

    Although fighting continues in the area, local media quoted him as saying residents had made the discovery while clearing the rubble from an area "where there is no shelling".

    Synegubov did not say who had removed the bodies nor how they had managed to do so given that the town fell to Russian troops on April 1 after several weeks of heavy fighting.

    Much of the surrounding area is also under Russian control.

    Separately, the regional prosecutor's office said it had opened an investigation into "the violation of the laws and customs of war" following the discovery, saying that 14 of the bodies had already been identified.

    "According to the investigation, the Russian military systematically shelled Izyum between March 7-10. As a result, public infrastructure and residential buildings were destroyed," it said on Telegram.

  • Joseph Gamp

    ‘Bodies of 44 civilians found in rubble in Izyum’

    The bodies of 44 civilians have been found in the rubble of a five-storey building in Izyum.

    It was destroyed by Russian forces in March, according to a Ukrainian official.

    Oleg Sinegubov, head of Kharkiv regional military administration, has said: “The bodies of 44 civilians were found in the temporarily occupied Izyum from under the rubble of a five-storey building, which was destroyed by the occupiers in the first decade of March.”

    He added: “This is another horrible war crime of the Russian military against the civilian population.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russian strikes coincide with visits from Western diplomats

    The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, had to take cover in a bomb shelter during his visit to Odesa because of an incoming Russian missile attack.

    This is not the first time a city in Ukraine being visited by a Western diplomat has been the target of a Russian strike.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Putin would need to send in 600,000 troops to defeat ukraine warns ex-NATO commander

    Putin could escalate the war in Ukraine by sending in 600,000 troops and may decide to launch a tactical nuclear strike, a former NATO commander has warned.

    Sir James Everard, who served as NATO‘s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said the only way out for Putin now was to “significantly escalate” his forces in Ukraine or send in the nukes.

    Speaking with The Sun Online, the commander said war-hungry Vlad – who had been expected to announce all-out war against Ukraine at today’s Victory Day parade – was now “in trouble”.

    Sir James warned said Putin faces being toppled by his generals if he didn’t secure a solid victory in Ukraine soon.

    “He is in a terrible place. It was entirely of his own making,” Sir James said.

    “I can’t see him achieving his objectives without escalating conventionally.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund

    PICTURES of women and children fleeing the horror of Ukraine’s devastated towns and cities have moved Sun readers to tears.

    Many of you want to help the five million caught in the chaos — and now you can, by donating to The Sun's Ukraine Fund.

    Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the Red Cross on the ground helping women, children, the old, the infirm and the wounded.

    Donate here to help The Sun's fund

    Or text to 70141 from UK mobiles

    £3 — text SUN£3
    £5 — text SUN£5
    £10 — text SUN£10

    Texts cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) +1 standard message (we receive 100%). For full T&Cs visit redcross.org.uk/mobile

    The Ukraine Crisis Appeal will support people in areas currently affected and those potentially affected in the future by the crisis.

    In the unlikely event that the British Red Cross raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help them prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters anywhere in the world.

    For more information visit https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/disaster-fund

  • Joseph Gamp

    US intelligence chief warns Putin may become 'more unpredictable'

    President Vladimir Putin is expected to become more unpredictable and could order martial law in Russia to support his ambitions in Ukraine, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said Tuesday.

    Putin's aims are greater than Russian military capabilities, and that "likely means the next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory," Haines told a Senate hearing.

    "The current trend increases the likelihood that President Putin will turn to more drastic means, including imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalatory military options to free up the resources needed to achieve his objectives," she said.

    Haines also said Putin is not likely to order the use of nuclear weapons unless the Russian homeland faces an "existential threat."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russian army using ‘mobile crematoriums’ 

    Russian soldiers are using “mobile crematoriums” to cover up their own war crimes, as well as the true extent of their army’s death toll in Ukraine, according to the UK Defence Secretary.

    Ben Wallace said Putin‘s commanders in Ukraine had refused to tell the truth throughout the war, in response to Russia‘s Victory Parade in Moscow to mark the end of the Second World War.

    In a speech on Monday at the National Army Museum in London, he said: “Since February we have witnessed a systemic refusal to tell the truth up the chain of command, and it is playing out.

    “Consider the fact alone that mobile crematoria trundle around the battlefields not just to hide Russian war crimes, they are for their own soldiers’ corpses as well.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    Pentagon: ‘Indications’ Ukrainians are being moved against their will

    Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby has revealed today that the US has seen indications that some Ukrainians are being moved to Russia against their will.

    He condemned the actions as “unconscionable.” 

    Those in Ukraine have made similar claims throughout the war, with some alleging children are among those being moved across the border.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Russia says it prevented Ukraine’s recapture of Snake Island

    The Russian Defence Ministry has claimed that forces have thwarted several attempts by Ukrainian troops in the past two days to recapture Snake Island.

    Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov says Ukraine has made “several desperate attempts” to land air and sea assaults on Zmiinyi Island.

    He says more than 50 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during the attempts to consolidate on the island.

    These claims have not been verified.

  • Joseph Gamp

    ‘At least 100 civilians' remain in Azovstal steelworks

    According to an aide to the city’s mayor the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol still has at least 100 civilians trapped there.

    The civilians’ presence “does not reduce the density of attacks by [Russian] occupiers”, mayoral aide Petro Andryushchenko is quoted as saying on messaging app Telegram by Reuters news agency.

    The steel plant, which Russia has been attacking for weeks, is under heavy fire.

  • Louis Allwood

    'More than 1,000 Ukrainian troops in steel plant'

    Ukraine officials say more than 1,000 Ukrainian troops are still stuck in the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.

    The steel plant is under heavy Russian fire following civilian evacuations last week.

    Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told the AFP news agency: "Hundreds are injured. There are people with serious injuries who require urgent evacuation.

    "The situation is deteriorating every day."

  • Louis Allwood

    Russian strikes coincide with visits from Western diplomats

    The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, had to take cover in a bomb shelter during his visit to Odesa because of an incoming Russian missile attack.

    This is not the first time a city in Ukraine being visited by a Western diplomat has been the target of a Russian strike.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russian forces are conducting "storming operations"

    Ukraine's defence ministry says Russian forces are conducting "storming operations" at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

    Hundreds of Ukrainian defenders continue to remain in the steel plant and are holding out under Russian attacks.

    Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, said the Russian forces began laying siege to the plant after a UN convoy left the Donetsk region.

    The Russians were trying to blow up a bridge used for evacuations in order to trap the last few defenders inside, he said.

  • Louis Allwood

    Fierce warning

    PRESIDENT Zelensky has issued a fierce warning to Vladimir Putin in his nightly address, making it clear he will not back down.

    The Ukrainian said the Russians would meet the same fate of all previous invaders over the centuries, moments after Putin attended Moscow's Victory Day parade.

    Zelensky said: "On February 24, Russia launched an offensive. Treading on the same rake. Every occupier who comes to our land treads on it. We have been through different wars. But they all had the same finale.

    "Our land was sown with bullets and shells, but no enemy was able to take root here. Enemy chariots and tanks drove through our fields, but it did not bear fruit.

    "Enemy arrows and missiles flew in our skies, but no one will be able to overshadow our blue sky."

  • Louis Allwood

    UK Ministry of Defence update

    The UK Ministry of Defence have released its latest update on events in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    The UK Ministry of Defence Tweeted: "Russia's underestimation of Ukrainian resistance and its 'best case scenario' planning have led to demonstrable operational failings, preventing President Putin from announcing significant military success in Ukraine at the 09 May Victory Day parade.

    "Russia's invasion plan is highly likely to have been based on the mistaken assumption that it would encounter limited resistance and would be able to encircle and bypass population centres rapidly.

    "This assumption led Russian forces to attempt to carry out the opening phase of the operation with a light, precise approach intended to achieve a rapid victory with minimal cost.

    "This miscalculation led to unsustainable losses and a subsequent reduction in Russia's operational focus."

    Source: Read Full Article