22.Apr .2022 19:00

Ukraine war could last until end of 2023, UK PM says

Ukraine war could last until end of 2023, UK PM says
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There may be no swift end to the conflict in Ukraine despite the stiff resistance to Russia's invasion, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday

Asked if he agreed with defense intelligence assessments that fighting could drag on until the end of next year, he told reporters: "The sad thing is that is a realistic possibility."

Johnson, on a two-day visit to India to boost bilateral ties, said Russian President Vladimir Putin had made a "catastrophic blunder" in ordering the invasion.

"The only option he now has really is to continue to try to use his appalling grinding approach," he added.

But he paid tribute to the Ukrainian resistance and outlined planned and potential military support for the country and its neighbors.

Johnson said a "realistic" negotiation to end the conflict "doesn't seem likely at the present time," but Europe and Ukraine itself would eventually need to discuss future security arrangements.

"What the Ukrainians want, and I think are now going to get, is a collection of security guarantees from like-minded countries, security commitments about what we can do to back them up," he added.

That could include weaponry, training and intelligence sharing to potentially allow Ukraine to prevent future Russian attacks.

U.K. Embassy in Kyiv to reopen

Johnson also announced that Britain plans to reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv next week and is looking at reinforcing allies who sent armaments to Ukraine.

The British government had announced days before Russia invaded Ukraine that its embassy in Kyiv was relocating temporarily and staff was operating from a diplomatic office in the city of Lviv.

"The extraordinary fortitude and the success of (Ukrainian) President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people in resisting Russian forces in Kyiv, means that I can announce today that we will shortly – next week – reopen our embassy in Ukraine's capital city," Johnson told a news conference.

Russia calls its incursion a "special military operation" to demilitarize and "denazify" Ukraine. Kyiv and its Western allies reject that as a false pretext for an illegal war of aggression.

Johnson also said that Britain was looking into what it could do to reinforce military equipment in countries such as Poland, to enable them to send heavier weaponry to Ukraine, Daily Sabah reports.

"We're looking at sending tanks to Poland to help them as they as they send some of their T-72s (tanks) to Ukraine," he added.