'Increasingly desperate' Putin could attack NATO base to stop weapons
17th April 2022

‘Increasingly desperate’ Vladimir Putin could attack a NATO base to stop the western weapons that are stalling his invasion from getting to Ukrainian forces, ex-national security chief warns

  • Putin could strike a NATO base in order to halt the transfer of arms to Ukraine 
  • Former Government security adviser Lord Ricketts made the warning yesterday
  • Putin may even attack aircraft or convoys headed to Ukraine from NATO, he said 

Vladimir Putin could consider striking a NATO base in order to halt the transfer of arms to Ukraine, a former British security chief has warned. 

Lord Ricketts, the Government’s first national security adviser, said yesterday that Mr Putin is becoming ‘increasingly desperate to choke off the flow of arms’ to Ukraine.

He may even do this by attacking aircraft or convoys headed to the country from NATO, Lord Ricketts suggested. 

Lord Ricketts, the Government’s first national security adviser, said yesterday that Mr Putin is becoming ‘increasingly desperate to choke off the flow of arms’ to Ukraine

Lord Ricketts fears the conflict is moving towards ‘an angry stalemate, where Russia will hold on to quite a large part of the country’

He fears the conflict is moving towards ‘an angry stalemate, where Russia will hold on to quite a large part of the country’ and Ukraine will not agree a settlement deal, he told the BBC.

He also warned that the conflict could continue for ‘years and years to come’ as a guerrilla war like an ‘open wound in the middle of Europe’.

‘I suppose what President Putin wants us all to fear is that he might want to use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, which would be a momentous escalation and ensure Russia was isolated around the world,’ he said. 

‘More likely, I think what they’re looking at is some way of preventing or limiting this flow of arms into Ukraine, keeping the Ukrainian Armed Forces going.

‘So we may see attacks on convoys or aircraft bringing the arms in from the west.

‘I think what they’re looking at is some way of preventing or limiting this flow of arms into Ukraine, keeping the Ukrainian Armed Forces going,’ he warned. Above, President Vladimir Putin

Ukrainian servicemen load a truck with the FGM-148 Javelin, an American man-portable anti-tank missile provided by US to Ukraine

A Ukrainian serviceman holds the FGM-148 Javelin at a checkpoint, where they held a position near Kharkiv last month

Russia told the US to stop sending weapons to Ukraine, warning of ‘unpredictable consequences’ if it continues to do do.

The warning was delivered in the form of an official diplomatic note, which was seen by the Washington Post.

It said that American and NATO shipments of the ‘most sensitive’ weapons were ‘adding fuel’ to the conflict, which is now nearing its second month.

The two-page note was delivered after Biden had agreed to a new $800million delivery of military aid to Ukraine, including heavy artillery and shells, helicopters and armoured personnel carriers.

‘What the Russians are telling us privately is precisely what we’ve been telling the world publicly — that the massive amount of assistance that we’ve been providing our Ukrainian partners is proving extraordinarily effective,’ a senior US official said about the note.

‘At worst, possibly, some kind of missile strike on a base in NATO, where the arms for Ukraine were being prepared.

‘And that will certainly pose the NATO countries with a real dilemma.’

Lord Ricketts said that the Kremlin is becoming ‘increasingly desperate to try and choke off the flow of arms’ and that an attack on a NATO base is ‘not impossible’. 

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky said that it is important for Russia not to win any territory in the Donbas region. 

‘This is why it is very important for us to not allow them, to stand our ground, because this battle… it can influence the course of the whole war,’ he told CNN.

‘I don’t trust the Russian military and Russian leadership.

‘That is why we understand that the fact that we fought them off and they left, and they were running away from Kyiv — from the north, from Chernihiv and from that direction … it doesn’t mean if they are able to capture Donbas, they won’t come further towards Kyiv.’

The president has also urged the West to prepare for a nuclear attack from Mr Putin. He said that the Russian leader may consider tactical attacks if his war stalls any further.

‘We shouldn’t wait for the moment when Russia decides to use nuclear weapons… We must prepare for that,’ he said. 

‘Chemical weapons, they should do it, they could do it, for them the life of the people, nothing. That’s why.

‘We should think not be afraid, not be afraid, but be ready. But that is not a question for Ukraine, not only for Ukraine but for all the world.’   

Moscow gave Ukrainian soldiers an ultimatum to ‘surrender or die’ by 3am GMT on Sunday after the Russian Defence Ministry claimed their troops had cleared the city – with only a small unit of Ukrainian fighters remaining in the giant Azovstal steelworks in the south-eastern port. Pictured: Illich Steel and Iron Works in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine

In Kyiv, renewed Russian air strikes hit an armaments factory, despite Moscow shifting its military focus to gaining control of the eastern Donbas region and forging a land corridor to already-annexed Crimea

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