'Civilian casualties will rise', stark warning of Putin's 'weapons of serious destruction'

1 March 2022, 08:13

Shadow Defence Sec warns civilian casualties in Ukraine will rise

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey has said despite the "massive bravery" demonstrated by Ukrainians, more civilian casualties are expected in the coming days as a result of the bombs used by Russia on the nation.

Mr Healey told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast the situation in the country is "getting more dangerous. We should expect civilian casualties to rise.

"It may well be that Putin has miscalculated on the determination of the Ukrainian people to fight for their country against this invasion.

"But my fear is, of course, that he has such crushing force and Putin has shown he's utterly ruthless in being willing to use it, that we must fear that the setbacks his military have seen over these first six days may now see some more of his military objectives achieved and we must stand with Ukraine."

His comments come as the Ministry of Defence say Russian forces have made "little progress" in their advance on Kyiv over the past 24 hours.

In an intelligence update posted to Twitter on Tuesday morning, MoD stated that this was likely due to "logistical difficulties".

Factory destroyed by Russian shell in Kharkiv

The MoD added: "Russian forces have increased their use of artillery north of Kyiv and in vicinities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv.

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

"Russia has failed to gain control of the airspace over Ukraine prompting a shift to night operations in an attempt to reduce their losses".

Footage shows 'cluster munition' detonations in Kharkiv

Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary also told LBC that Vladimir Putin has "weapons of serious destruction" which he appears to be "directing against civilians" in Ukraine.

Mr Healey told LBC: "He's got massive force and we've started to see some of that moving into Ukraine.

"We can equip the brave Ukrainian people with some of the means to defend themselves, but we've got to see that this is a long-run challenge."

He added: "We've got to stand by the Ukrainian people. We've got to offer them political and economic support to their Government, not just military support.

"It's clear that one of Putin's main aims is to destroy the Ukrainian government and if it is forced out of Ukraine, Britain must stand ready to offer it a base in Britain."