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Russian invasion 'not on schedule' and 'in some significant areas of disarray' – defence sec says

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “not on schedule” and Vladimir Putin’s forces “are in some significant areas of disarray”, the defence secretary has told Sky News.

Ben Wallace said the invasion launched last week is not having the “strategic impact” that Moscow believed it would.

Live updates as conflict enters fifth day

Key developments in the Ukraine crisis:

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Russia hikes key interest rate to 20% after rouble sinks to record low
Putin orders nuclear deterrent forces to be put on high alert
Zelenskyy: Ukraine and Russia to hold talks at Belarus border
Ukraine claims control of key city Kharkiv after fierce clashes

His comments come after the Ministry of Defence shared an intelligence update of the latest situation on the ground in Ukraine.

In a tweet, the MoD said: “The bulk of Putin’s ground forces remain more than 30km to the north of Kyiv, their advance having been slowed by Ukrainian forces defending Hostomel airfield, a key Russian objective for day one of the conflict.

More on Russia

“Heavy fighting continues around Chernihiv and Kharkiv; however both cities remain under Ukrainian control.

“Logistical failures and staunch Ukrainian resistance continue to frustrate the Russian advance.

“Despite continued attempts to suppress details of the conflict from the Russian population, the Russian Armed Forces has for the first time been forced to acknowledge suffering casualties.”

Boris Johnson spoke with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on Sunday evening and promised to do “all he could to help ensure defensive aid from the UK and allies reached” the country.

Mr Zelenskyy told the PM the next 24 hours would be a “crucial period” for Ukraine.

The defence secretary said the Russian president’s nuclear warning is a “big attempt to distract away from his troubles in Ukraine”.

Asked if Mr Putin was “crazy enough” to start a nuclear conflict, Mr Wallace said “he has certainly done a lot of irrational things recently”.

But he added: “I think I’m not going to speculate on what he would or wouldn’t do, but that’s why we all keep our deterrents at a state of readiness in the West.”

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