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Putin’s vanity project to realise his imperial ambitions has come at enormous strategic cost to the Russian people.

Although the land war in Ukraine continues to be strongly contested, any territorial land gains come at enormous strategic cost to the Russian armed forces, for limited tactical gains. Russia originally deployed 130 Battalion Tactical Groups for its invasion of Ukraine, comprising 1,300 tanks, over 5,000 infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers (IFVs and APCs), and at least 100,000 personnel. In two years of conflict, Russia’s losses now match – and in many cases surpass – those that comprised its original force. Confirmed Russian losses include over 2,700 tanks and 5,000 IFVs and APCs, whilst Russia’s killed and wounded stand at over 350,000 personnel. In the air domain, Russia has lost its second A-50 MAINSTAY early warning and airborne control aircraft in six weeks. NATO now has more member States as a direct consequence of Putin’s illegal war of aggression. In contrast Russia’s military alliances are diminishing in recognition of the security proposition on offer. Mr Chair, this all matters because Russia would love for nothing more than to deflect from the realities of its strategic errors. It would like for us to debate the technical wranglings of arms control, perversely attempting to obfuscate the key point that Russia invaded another country. Russia’s continual efforts to focus on the tactical to deflect from the strategic bigger picture. This is a reinforcement of the very behaviour that enabled it to send a generation of Russian boys into the meat grinder. This has all been done as part of Putin’s vanity project to realise his imperial ambitions, the sole aim of which is to preserve power for himself and a narrow Russian elite as part of his despotic regime. Thank you, Mr Chair. We have recently passed two landmark dates in Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine. Over a decade ago, on 20 February 2014, Russia illegally, and unacceptably sought to annex Crimea. While, last week, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine entered the third year. That President Putin supposedly intended his full-scale invasion to be a three-day operation is a testament to many things; to Putin’s arrogance and hubris, to his strategic miscalculation, to the international community’s steadfast support of the principles of democracy and freedom, and to the enormous bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people. When we reflect on where things stand, two years after the start of the full-scale invasion, we see a stronger NATO, a defiant, democratic Ukraine, the consolidation of an international community drawn together around the principles of democratic institutions and the respect for law and sovereignty. The vast majority of members in this Forum have aligned with these principles and will stand up against a nation that believes it can invade another with impunity. The vast majority of nations recognise, that for all of Russia’s attempts to divide us, to sow misinformation, to deflect, we will remain focussed on the strategic reality that Russia invaded its neighbour, Ukraine, and we will stand by Ukraine now and for as long as it takes. Thank you. 20% of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has now been destroyed. Further losses were sustained on 14 February 2024 when Ukrainian forces conducted a successful Uncrewed Surface Vessel attack on the Russian Ropucha-class landing craft ‘Tsezar Kunikov’. As a consequence, three of ten Ropucha-class vessels have now been destroyed by Ukrainian strikes and the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, has been removed from his post.


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