The British Defence Secretary has said that the Russian army are in a “very fragile position” as they have lost “80,000 in six months” compared to “15,000 they lost in a decade in Afghanistan.”
Ben Wallace said the UK could also “toughen up” visa conditions for Russians and said that he is not sure “an outright ban is the right way.”
Speaking to the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Wallace said, “I certainly think we can toughen up the conditions of our visas. I am not sure whether an outright ban is the right way.
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“I think that’s a matter for the Home Secretary to look at.
“But I don’t like, and I’m sure none of your listeners like, watching oligarchs’ wives or indeed Russian senior officials’ wives enjoying themselves in Greece or the south of France, or on super yachts around the world while their army is committing war crimes in Ukraine.
“I think that is very wrong.
“I think the problem has been all the way back to 2014, that Russia invaded Crimea, illegally annexed it, and then it was allowed in some countries to carry on as if nothing had really changed.”
Speaking over the EU’s resolve, Wallace said, “I mean, the EU doesn’t always, you know, can’t even often decide on some of the most basic pan-European initiatives, whether that’s environmental standards, that’s just the way it is.
“But I think that’s why the Commission is there to do that work. But I don’t see any waning.
“There’s always a few disagreements about the levels of sanctions, but, fundamentally, the international community is united against what Putin is doing.”
Wallace then warned that Russia are in a “very fragile position,” he explained the Russian army’s advance can be measured “in metres per week, not miles”.
He added, “We pretty much accept, well, we do accept, the sort of observations of Russian losses to be – if you combine deaths, injuries, desertions – over 80,000 of their armed forces.
“That’s 80,000 in six months compared to 15,000 they lost in a decade in Afghanistan.
“I think we are in a position where Russia is in a very fragile position.”
Defence Minister James Heappey told Sky News, “I think that I can understand why lots of people eating their breakfast and worrying about the cost of living will be agreeing with the premise of your question that, you know, arguably the most straightforward solution to the cost-of-living crisis is that we re-establish relations with Russia and everything goes back to the way that it was in the European energy market.
“Every single thing that I have seen in the last six months tells me that that would be catastrophic for security in the Euro-Atlantic.
“Thus not, not on some 10 or 15 or 20-year horizon, but within just a few years, we would find ourselves in a situation where an emboldened Russia was causing cost-of-living challenges that are 100 times worse than what we are seeing right now.”