Ben Wallace arrives in Kyiv for talks with Ukraine counterpart
Ben Wallace arrives in Kiev for talks with Ukrainian counterpart as defense ministry says more than 1,000 Russian troops have already gone AWOL this year and Vladimir Putin struggles to enforce discipline
- Defense Minister meets Oleksii Reznikov on an unannounced visit to Kiev
Ben Wallace arrived in Kiev this morning for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, as they discussed Britain’s supply of long-range missiles to the country.
The defense minister met Oleksii Reznikov during an unannounced visit to the Ukrainian capital.
According to local media, the pair discussed Ukraine’s ongoing bid to join NATO, as well as Western arms shipments to Kiev.
It came as the Defense Ministry revealed that more than 1,000 Russian troops have already gone AWOL this year.
They added that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s struggle to enforce discipline among his ranks has likely worsened since he ordered the forced mobilization of reservists.
Defense Minister Ben Wallace and Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov shake hands in Kyiv today
Smoke rises from a building in Bakhmut, the site of Ukraine’s toughest battles involving Russian troops in the eastern Donetsk region
Vladimir Putin’s struggle to enforce discipline among his ranks has likely worsened since he ordered the forced mobilization of reservists, the defense ministry said.
In their latest intelligence update, the Defense Ministry revealed that more than 1,000 Russian troops have already gone AWOL this year
Putin called up 300,000 reservists last fall after his hopes of a swift invasion of Ukraine were dashed. He has also allowed Russian prisoners to be conscripted into the paramilitary Wagner Group to fight in Ukraine.
In its latest intelligence update, the Defense Ministry wrote: “The Russian military is struggling to enforce discipline in its ranks during its operations in Ukraine, but problems have most likely worsened following the forced mobilization of reservists since October 2022.
Court records suggest most of those found guilty of AWOL are now serving suspended sentences, meaning they could be transferred to the “special military operation.”
“Russia’s efforts to improve discipline have focused on setting examples of defaulters and fostering patriotic zeal, rather than addressing the root causes of soldiers’ disillusionment.”
Mr Wallace’s visit to Kyiv today comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak talked out the defense minister in his bid to become NATO’s next secretary general.
The Prime Minister praised Mr Wallace – who has said that being NATO chief is ‘a job I would like’ – as ‘widely respected’ among international allies for his actions in Ukraine.
Current NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will step down in October after leading the military alliance for nine years.
In addition to Mr Wallace, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas are also among those linked to the role.
Yesterday, Sunak stressed that Ukraine will receive Western support in the coming years, while warning Putin that his wait-and-see strategy “will not work.”
The prime minister said it was one of Putin’s “great miscalculations” to assume his invasion of Ukraine would shatter allies.
Wallace revealed last week that Ukrainian forces have used UK-supplied Storm Shadow cruise missiles – the latest British kit sent to Kiev – against Russian targets.