London, Mar 17 (PTI) Russian forces have made minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days and they continue to suffer heavy losses, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Thursday.
In its latest Defence Intelligence Update posted on social media, the MoD said that while the Russian invasion had largely stalled, the Ukrainian resistance remained well-coordinated. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has largely stalled on all fronts,” the MoD intelligence update reads.
“Russian forces have made minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days and they continue to suffer heavy losses. Ukrainian resistance remains staunch and well-coordinated. The vast majority of Ukrainian territory, including all major cities, remains in Ukrainian hands,” it adds. It comes a day after an “extraordinary meeting” of Defence Ministers was called in Brussels by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Defence ministers from across the military alliance said they addressed both the immediate crisis in Europe and the longer-term adaptation of NATO’s defence activities. “The UK and our Allies continue to support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion,” said UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. While in Brussels, the MoD said Wallace also held bilateral and small-group meetings with the US, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Canada, Slovakia, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in the Middle East for talks with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an effort to move away from the West’s reliance on Russian oil and gas exports for its energy needs. “The Prime Minister and Crown Prince [of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman] agreed to collaborate to maintain stability in the energy market and continue the transition to renewable and clean technology,” Downing Street said in a readout of the meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday.
Johnson is in the region on a declared mission to build a global coalition against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian oil exports that bring him a large majority of international funds. “The Prime Minister [Boris Johnson] would want every country to move away from using Russian oil and gas. It is the funding that the Putin regime receives largely through oil and gas that directly goes towards funding the Russian war machine. Everyone needs to be conscious of that,” said the UK PM’s spokesperson.
“We understand the position for individual countries is different, each country is in a different position and we respect that. But certainly, the Prime Minister wants to broaden the coalition of countries even further, so that everyone is united not just in condemnation but in action [against Putin],” the spokesperson noted, with reference to India’s stance on Russian exports.
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