Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said the Ukrainian military was facing a prolonged struggle with Russia which could carry on for many months.
Heappey warned that the war in Ukraine is not “anywhere near over” and “what is in front of Ukraine is bloody, brutal.”
“Nobody should think that this is anywhere near over. What stands in front of Ukraine, its armed forces and very tragically its people, is days, weeks months more of what we have seen over that last 48 hours,” he told the BBC.
“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 fervour in the tone of his voice. He has gone all in on this.
“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.
“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 told Sky News that Melitopol is “still in Ukrainian hands” – despite claims from the Russian military that it had taken control of the city.
He added that street fighting in the Ukrainian capital is being carried out by “isolated pockets of Russian special forces and paratroopers.”
“Clearly, the Russian plan is to take Kyiv, but the reality is Ukrainians are thwarting them thus far,” he said.
“That is an incredible effort on their part. That brings into play all sorts of challenges for Russia, they will need to start to consider how they will resupply the troops that have taken longer to get down to Kyiv than they thought, resupply those who have engaged in very serious combat around other Ukrainian cities.
“So there is a challenge for the Kremlin, that I’m not sure we think they necessarily would have thought they would have to work their way through and that is potentially an opportunity for the Ukrainians to fight back even more.”
Heappey also confirmed that several countries and NATO are to send lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine, he added, “Ukrainian forces have clued using anti-tank weapons.”
British forces are prepared for war and have been placed in Estonia to “double up our force levels” and the battlegroup will “remain indefinitely.”
The British Defence Minister confirmed to MPs on Friday afternoon in the House of Commons that further British armed forces are being deployed to Estonia “earlier than planned.”