BORIS Johnson will fly to the edge of Ukraine’s warzone tomorrow for urgent security talks following Vladimir Putin’s crazed nuclear threats.
The PM is heading to Nato allies Poland and Estonia as ruthless Russian forces blitz a path of bombs and bullets across Ukraine.
But he warned that Mad Vlad had made a “colossal mistake” by underestimating Ukraine’s fierce defence of their homeland.
Britain is sending more weapons to arm the resistance, including anti-tank missiles and protective gear.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his country faces a “crucial” 24 hours in a call with Mr Johnson.
And Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned that the stalled invasion could force Russia to unleash “ruthless, indiscriminate” bombing of Ukraine.
His warning came after Putin’s ally Belarus accused the West of pushing Russia to the brink of World War 3 as Moscow put its nuclear forces on “high alert”.
Ukraine holds out no great hope after agreeing to talks with Russia in Belarus – the launchpad for attacks on Kyiv.
Before dawn, explosions were heard in the capital and also in the country’s second largest city, Kharkiv.
Powerful blasts were also reportedly heard in the cities of Cherkasy and Chernihiv as the brutal barrage continues.
Ukraine’s army says it fought off several attempts by Russian forces to storm the outskirts of Kyiv overnight with the capital also hit by three missile strikes.
Russia has so far fired more than 350 missiles at Ukraine, with many hitting civilians.
It comes as...
- Ukraine faces a “crucial 24 hours” as officials from Kyiv and Moscow sit down for high level peace talks
- Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly assisting in the peace process
- UK defence sec Ben Wallace warned Vladimir Putin’s forces could unleash an “indiscriminate and ruthless” bombing campaign
- Russia fears a bank run and civil unrest after crushing Western sanctions were imposed over the weekend
- Heartbreaking scenes show thousands of Ukrainian kids separated from their dads at the border
- And a little girl, 6, wearing unicorn pyjamas was killed in a Russian airstrike as doctors told reporters ‘show this to Putin‘
- Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is being hailed as a hero after he went from being a comedian to a war time leader
- Putin has been accused of taking muscle-boosting steroids that may be giving him roid rage
Moscow has failed to win full control of Ukraine’s airspace, despite advances across the country.
US officials say they believe the invasion has been more difficult, and slower, than the Kremlin envisioned – sparking concern Putin could start to use even more vicious weapons.
“It appears that they are adopting a siege mentality, which any student of military tactics and strategy will tell you, when you adopt siege tactics, it increases the likelihood of collateral damage,” a US official said.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said that Russia’s forces are “strung out” and “behind schedule” – but downplayed the nuclear threat from Russia.
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Putin “convinced himself that all these people would somehow welcome them with Russian flags and thank them for being great liberators”, he said.
But instead the Ukrainian resistance had made these plans “go awry” – but he warned the offensive is likely to become “more violent”.
Mr Wallace said: “So we have to brace ourselves for what may come next, which could be ruthless, indiscriminate bombing of cities and propelling forward of soldiers and high casualty levels, and that’s going to be horrific.”
It is estimated nearly 400,00 civilians, mainly women and children, have now fled Ukraine into neighbouring countries.
EU commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarcic said: “We are witnessing what could become the largest humanitarian crisis on our European continent in many, many years.”
Russia faces a day of economic pain after the imposition of crushing new sanctions.
Brutal new measures rolled out over the weekend designed to cut off Russia could trigger a run on the banks as the rouble is now in “free fall”.
Meanwhile, Putin’s closest ally, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko – who is known as Europe’s Last Dictator, accused the West of “pushing Russia into World War 3”.
Ahead of the United Nations holding a rare emergency meeting of its General Assembly over the crisis, the Prime Minister also told Ukraine the UK would do all it could to send more arms.
Mr Johnson said Mr Putin’s nuclear order appeared to be an attempt to divert from the fact that his efforts to re-make the post-Cold War order in Europe were failing.
President Putin sent shock waves through Western capitals with his instruction on Sunday to his top military leaders to put the strategic nuclear deterrent on a “special regime of combat duty”.
The US said it was “completely unacceptable” while a senior US defence official was quoted as warning the Russian leader had made any “miscalculation… much, much more dangerous”.
Lukashenko insisted sanctions being handed down by countries including the UK and US are propelling Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Now there is a lot of talk against the banking sector, gas, oil, SWIFT,” he said.
“It’s worse than war. This is pushing Russia into a Third World War.
“We need to be restrained here so as not to get into trouble. Because nuclear war is the end of everything.”