'Ukraine is gonna win, Kyiv will not be taken': Defenders will prevail, says ex US general

11 March 2022, 08:15 | Updated: 11 March 2022, 08:54

By Liam Gould

Battle-hardened Ukrainian defenders are "going to win" and "Kyiv will not be taken", former United States Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges told LBC this morning.

The people of Ukraine "are not just talking patriotism," the former commander of the US forces in Europe and Nato's land command told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC today.

"Ukraine is gonna win. When the smoke clears and all is said and done, Kyiv will not be taken," he said.

"I would bet that most of the major cities that are either taken or encircled will also not be taken".

Nick asked the ex-General: "As a senior commanding officer, presumably it's one thing to gain hostile territory, it's another one to hold it - that could be a hell of a challenge?"

A Ukrainian attack sent a convoy of tanks into retreat yesterday
A Ukrainian attack sent a convoy of tanks into retreat yesterday. Picture: Twitter

He responded: "The Russians have made the decision to transition to attrition which means you have to have endless time, endless ammunition, and endless manpower. They don't have any of those three. They're running out of time"

General Hodges went on to praise the efforts of the Ukrainian people and military.

"You can hear it in their voice, they're not just talking patriotism. They are all in. So the Russians clearly failed to anticipate this. The moral part of warfare is so much more important than the technology."

"The Russians have a serious challenge here".

This comes as the Government will ask the British public to open their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the fighting in their country amid continuing criticism of its response to the refugee crisis.

Fierce fighting on the ground in Kyiv yesterday saw Russian tanks advance further into the capital's eastern region.

Aerial footage that emerged yesterday showed a devastating attack by the defenders on Russian forces advancing on Kyiv.

A line of Russian heavy armour was pummelled in a hail of explosions from an artillery barrage, forcing it to retreat.

Vadym Denysenko, adviser to Ukraine's interior ministry, said defending forces had managed to stop the attack in Irpin and had launched a counter attack.

The stretch in the video is one of the axes of advance Russian forces are marking in an apparent bid to encircle Kyiv, the capital.

This was the follow-up to Russian president Vladimir Putin being accused of war crimes for the bombing of a maternity hospital.

Ukrainian officials said on Thursday that three people died in the attack, including a girl aged six.

Authorities say at least 17 people were injured in the attack in the south-eastern city.

The conflict has seen over 2 million Ukrainians flee the country to escape the continued invasion.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove will set out on Monday details of a new "sponsored" humanitarian route to allow Ukrainians without family links to the UK to come to the country.

The Daily Telegraph reported that ministers will unveil a hotline and webpage where individuals, charities, businesses and community groups will be able to offer rooms to those escaping the conflict.

Boris Johnson told Sky News: "On Monday, you'll get from the Levelling Up Secretary, you'll get the programme that will allow people to come in, so (if) people want to welcome (refugees) into their own homes, they can do so.

"Refugees who enter through the new route will be allowed to stay for an initial period of 12 months during which they will be entitled to work, claim benefits and access public services.

Officials will match them with offers of free accommodation from the sponsoring individuals and organisations who will be vetted to ensure it is safe and secure.

As Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, people try to escape the country passing through Lviv, while others get ready to fight the Russian army.
As Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, people try to escape the country passing through Lviv, while others get ready to fight the Russian army. Picture: Alamy / SOPA Images

The Telegraph said those offering housing would have to agree to take the refugees for a minimum period - potentially six months - and demonstrate that they meet appropriate standards.

A Government spokesman said the details of the scheme were being worked on "at pace"."

The routes we have put in place follow extensive engagement with Ukrainian partners," the spokesman said.

"This is a rapidly moving and complex picture and as the situation develops we will continue to keep our support under constant review."

The move comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel was urged to do more to make it easier for those coming to the UK through the existing family route. On Thursday, Ms Patel announced that from Tuesday people will be able to apply online for a visa and will no longer have to go to a processing centre to give their biometrics.

It followed criticism that the UK's response has been painfully slow in the face of the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War with around 2.2 million having fled the country.

However the British Red Cross said the quickest way of fixing the problem would be to remove the requirement for a visa, while the Refugee Council said Ms Patel's announcement "does not go anywhere near far enough".

Meanwhile, after the Government announced it was sanctioning seven more Russians linked to Vladimir Putin's regime including Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK and other allies need to keep up the pressure with further measures - including a freeze on all Russian banking assets.

"We must double down and ramp up the global pressure on Putin. We must go further on sanctions to keep tightening the vice," she said in a speech in Washington.

"We want a situation where they can't access their funds, they can't clear their payments, their trade can't flow, their ships can't dock and their planes can't land."

Her call came as Mr Johnson warned that the "cynical, barbaric" Russian regime appeared to be preparing to use chemical weapons in Ukraine as its forces continued to struggle to make the expected gains in the face of fierce resistance.

"The stuff which you are hearing about chemical weapons is straight out of the Russian playbook," he told Sky News.

"They start saying that there are chemical weapons that are being stored by their opponents or by the Americans, so that when they themselves deploy chemical weapons - as I fear they may - they have a sort of a maskirovka, a fake story, ready to go." It comes as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) warned Russia could be re-posturing for a "renewed offensive" in Ukraine.

"This will probably include operations against the capital Kyiv," a MoD statement said. Earlier, the MoD said the Russian forces were committing increasing numbers to encircling key cities, reducing the forces to continue their advance which "will further slow Russian progress".

Mr Johnson said that he believed the conflict would only end when Mr Putin accepted he had made "a disastrous miscalculation" and withdrew his forces.

"Vladimir Putin has himself made it very difficult to find an off ramp, and he has, I think, driven his tank, so to speak, down a cul de sac from which it will be very hard to extricate himself but he must," he said.

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