Putin brutally mocked over ‘lack of expertise’ as MoD zeroes in on key Russian weakness

Putin says 'it has fallen to us to take back' territory

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Russian forces have turned their efforts to capturing the key city of Severodonetsk in the eastern Donbas region. The regional governor of the Luhansk region, where Severodonetsk is located, has said Putin’s troops have blocked all routes out of the city by demolishing the three bridges into the area.

Serhiy Haidai said the Russian forces had a “significant advantage in artillery”, and were “destroying quarter after quarter”.

He said the Russian army controlled around three-quarters of the city, and had been “partially successful at night”.

However, he maintained Russia had not “completely captured” Severodonetsk and Ukrainian forces still control “a part of the city”.

Writing in an intelligence update on Tuesday morning, the UK Ministry of Defence described the “likely” advances of Russian forces “in the Kharkiv sector for the first time in several weeks”.

The MoD then pinpointed how Russia is upping its military-industrial spending to foot the bill for the war in Ukraine, after the Kremlin’s defence budget was predicted to increase by around a fifth.

Russia’s Military-Industrial Commission predicted last week that defence spending could increase by between £8.5-10 billion.

The MoD added: “Russian government funding is allowing the country’s defence industrial base to be slowly mobilised to meet demands placed on it by the war in Ukraine.”

But the MoD zeroed in on a problem with Vladimir Putin’s strategy of pumping money into the industry.

It wrote: “However, the industry could struggle to meet many of these requirements, partially due to the effects of sanctions and lack of expertise.

“Russia’s production of high-quality optics and advanced electronics likely remain troubled and could undermine its efforts to replace equipment lost in Ukraine.”

This comes as Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, predicts that the fighting in Severodonetsk will be remembered as one of the “most brutal” battles in European history.

Speaking in his nightly address, Mr ZelenSky said the “human cost of this battle is very high for us”, adding the conflict in the strategic eastern city was “simply terrifying”.

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He continued: “The battle for the Donbas will, without doubt, be remembered in military history as one of the most violent battles in Europe.”

He said those fending off Russian forces in the encircled city were “dealing with absolute evil”, calling for bolstered military aid from Western countries.

He added: “We have no choice but to move forward and free our territory.

“We draw the attention of our partners on a daily basis to the fact that only a sufficient number of modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage and finally the end of Russian torture of the Ukrainian Donbas.”

It follows the news that Ukrainian authorities say they have discovered a new civilian mass grave near Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv.

Andrii Niebytov, police chief for the region around the capital, said the bodies of seven civilians were discovered close to the village of Myrotske.

A number had their “hands tied and their knees shot”, and were subject to torture, he said in a statement.

He added: “This is another sadistic crime of the Russian army.”

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