Britain has vowed to continuously supply weapons to Ukraine’s embattled military as the battle with Russian forces reached the outskirts of the capital, Kiev.
James Heappey, Armed Forces Minister, noted that Russians troops had not made the progress they might have envisioned, with the main armored columns still some way from the city.
He cautioned that the defenders faced “days, weeks, months more” of heavy fighting as Russian President Vladimir Putin contends to overthrow the Ukrainian government and enforce his power on the country.
“This is going to be a long slog. It is going to be brutal. We are going to see some horrendous things on our TV screens,” Heappey informed BBC Breakfast.
With the entrap tightening around his capital, a defiant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declined an American offer to evacuate, stressing: “The fight is here.”
However, Heappey revealed that Britain’s Ministry of Defense was working on plans to back a resistance movement and a government in exile if Ukraine was finally overthrown.
“That is a decision for the National Security Council to take but it is something that the Prime Minister has asked us in the Ministry of Defense to look at and plan for,” he informed Sky News.
On Friday, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace had a meeting with 25 other donor nations who all decided to supply arms or humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
Britain has already sent 2,000 anti-tank missile launchers and Heappy stated they were expecting more weapons to the country.
“We know what the Ukrainians want. We are doing our best to get it to them,” he said.
While the situation was “very grave”, he noted it was obvious that the Russian advance was not going to plan in the face of stiff Ukrainian resistance.
He stated that the Kremlin had expected to take a slew of Ukrainian cities on day one of the attack, while encircling Kiev ahead of a full-scale assault.
However, so far the fighting in the capital had been restricted to “very isolated pockets of Russian special forces and paratroopers” with the main armored columns “still some way off,” he added.
“That is a testament to the incredible resistance the Ukrainian armored forces have put up over the last 48 hours or so,” he told Sky News.
“Clearly the Russian plan is to take Kiev but the reality is that the
Ukrainians are thwarting them thus far.
“I think that will be a great cause of concern for President Putin and rather points to the fact that there was a lot of hubris in the Russian plan and that he may be awfully advised.”
But with Moscow having massed about 150,000 troops on the border ahead of the invasion, Heappey noted that people needed to be “clear-eyed” about what is ahead.
“President Putin, if you listen to his speeches, look at his press conferences over the last two or three days, there has been a fanaticism in the language that he used, a fervor in the tone of his voice. He has gone all in on this,” he told the BBC.
“I am afraid that that means that what is in front of Ukraine is bloody, brutal. We will do everything we can to help them resist but people shouldn’t necessarily think that a happy ending is just around the corner.”