Russia Failed Every Objective on Day One of Ukraine Invasion—U.K.

The U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has said Moscow failed to achieve its "main objectives" on the first day of its invasion of Ukraine as fighting continues and Russian forces threaten Kyiv.

Wallace told Sky News on Friday morning that the British government believed President Vladimir Putin intended "to invade the whole of Ukraine" but Russia was "behind its hoped-for timetable."

"Our assessment, as of this morning, is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives," Wallace said.

"In fact, it's behind its hoped-for timetable. They've lost over 450 personnel."

Wallace referred to the fact that Ukraine had claimed to have taken back an airport outside Kyiv from Russian Spetsnaz special forces.

"One of the significant airports they were trying to capture with their elite Spetsnaz has failed to be taken and, in fact, the Ukrainians have taken it back," he said.

"So, I think, contrary to great Russian claims and indeed President Putin's sort-of vision that somehow the Ukrainians would be liberated and would be flocking to his cause, he's got that completely wrong.

"And the Russian army has failed to deliver on day one its main objective."

In a separate interview with BBC News on Friday morning, Wallace said the U.K. would not use its air force to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, but was supporting Kyiv in other ways.

Wallace said in order to impose a no-fly zone he "would have to put British fighter jets directly against Russian fighter jets. NATO would have to effectively declare war on Russia. Because that's what you would do."

The U.K. defense secretary added: "I will not trigger a European war. But what I will do is help Ukraine fight in every street with every piece of equipment we can get to them."

He also warned that the Russian president had ambitions that went beyond Ukraine.

"Putin is not rational. He doesn't believe the Baltic states are really countries. We all have to stand up to him," Wallace said.

This echoes comments made by President Joe Biden on Thursday as he announced a new tranche of sanctions against Moscow.

The president said Putin had "much larger ambitions in Ukraine. He wants to, in fact, re-establish the former Soviet Union. That's what this is about. And I think that his—his ambitions are—are completely contrary to the place where the rest of the world has arrived."

The U.K. defense secretary's view that Russia had "failed to deliver" was similar to comments made on Thursday by former U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who suggested that Russian forces were overextending themselves.

"I don't know if Vladimir Putin realizes how much he's taken on," McMaster told Fox News.

"I don't want to predict this, but this could be the beginning of the end for him. I think he's going to be overextended based on this operation and of course, the economic and financial ramifications associated with, I think, just the beginning of sanctions that were announced today," he said.

Newsweek has asked the U.S. Department of Defense for comment.

Update 02/25/22 5:30 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add more information.

Ukrainian Troops in Eastern Ukraine
Ukrainian troops patrol in the town of Novoluhanske, eastern Ukraine, on February 19, 2022. The U.K. defense secretary has said Russia failed to achieve its objectives on the first day of the invasion of Ukraine. ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images