Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Russia’s heinous and desperate actions demonstrate that it knows the invasion has failed – UK statement to the OSCE [June 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 7 June 2023.

UK military advisor, Ian Stubbs, says the Kremlin’s intellectually bankrupt recourse to attritional warfare shows its appalling willingness to sacrifice the Russian people.

Thank you, Madam Chair. In the early hours of yesterday morning, the dam at the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant suffered significant damage. Reports indicate that an explosion occurred at the dam causing the entire eastern portion of the dam and much of the hydro and utilities infrastructure to be swept away resulting in significant flooding in the local area. We note that the water level in the Kakhovka Reservoir was at a record high before the collapse, resulting in a particularly high volume of water inundating the area downstream. The dam’s structure is likely to deteriorate further over the next few days, causing additional flooding.

We express our deepest concern regarding the potential impact of this damage on communities living in the downstream areas, the provision of clean water supplies, the longer-term safety of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, and the wider ecological consequences from the destruction of the dam. Reports that Russian forces shelled the city of Kherson during evacuation efforts, if correct, are particularly egregious. We are clear; the destruction of the Kakhovka dam is yet another devastating example of the terrible consequences of Russia’s unprovoked, illegal and full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Madam Chair, Russia’s continued attempts to break the will and resolve of the Ukrainian people with repeated barrages of missile and drone strikes on towns and cities across Ukraine are deplorable and heinous acts. They are the desperate actions of Russian military leaders who have run out of ideas, consistently overestimated their force capabilities and underestimated the strength and resolve of the Ukrainian people.

Over the course of May, Russia launched over 300 of the Iranian Shahed one-way attack UAVs against Ukraine. This is its most intense use of this weapon system to date. But Russia’s attempts to deplete Ukraine’s advanced air defences, including those gifted by international partners, through these “swarm” tactics are unlikely to have been notably successful. Ukraine has neutralised at least 90% of these UAVs mostly using its older and cheaper air defence weapons and with electronic jamming.

Madam Chair, over the last 72 hours there has been a substantial increase in fighting along numerous sectors of the front, including those which have been relatively quiet for several months.

When Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on the 24 February 2022 one of its objectives appears to have been the complete capture of the whole of the Donbas region within 10-14 days. Over 15 months later, Russia’s grinding offensive in the Donbas has stalled at a cost of extraordinarily high casualty rates. Since May last year, up to 60,000 Wagner and regular Russian forces have been killed or wounded in the area around Bakhmut alone. Russia has suffered nearly half of those casualties, almost 30,000 killed or wounded, in the last three months since March. These staggering losses have achieved at total advance of just 29 kilometres. That is for every 48 centimetres of ground Russia gained, one of its soldiers was killed or wounded.

Madam Chair, it is well over a year since Russia’s military leaders were forced to abandon their aspirations to deliver an overwhelming decisive victory through modern combined arms manoeuvre warfare. For over a year, we have watched those decision makers double down on their similarly ill-fated contingency plan – the blunt edged, intellectually bankrupt recourse to attritional warfare. This has resulted in an appalling demonstration of the Kremlin’s willingness to sacrifice the Russian people, including its mobilised citizens, by the thousands in the name of Putin’s horrendous and contrived war of choice.

Last week, our Russian colleague continued to insist on the delusion that the so called “Special Military Operation” was going to plan, that all objectives would be achieved. We all know that Putin’s war of choice in Ukraine is built on lies but the reality: Russia’s stalled invasion, the thousands of Russian casualties, and the significant degradation in Russia’s combat effectiveness, clearly demonstrates this is anything but true.

Madam Chair, the UK and its international partners are steadfast in our support for Ukraine as demonstrated by the continued provision of military assistance. Ukraine has regained territory and liberated thousands of Ukrainian people thanks to the awe-inspiring bravery of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the resilience of the Ukrainian people and overwhelming international support. Together, the UK and partners are ensuring that Ukraine will win. Our united approach of providing Ukraine with the support it needs to defend itself and push Russia out of Ukraine’s sovereign territory is the swiftest, and only, path to a just and lasting peace. Thank you.