WAR in Ukraine is likely to continue for several years to come, according to former minister Sir David Lidington.
The former Europe minster, who has been described as de facto Deputy Prime Minister under Theresa May, told GB News: “I think it’s certainly at a critical moment. I’m not going to go so far as to say that on the next few weeks or few months hinges the entire conflict, but I do think this will be a test for the West’s political will in actually delivering on the promises that it has made to Ukraine.
“And it’s not just a matter of arming Ukraine and ensuring that Ukraine is able to maintain the fight. That means getting the stuff, not just declaring they are going to supply them, but also supporting the Ukrainian economy.
“Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest producers of both grain and of cooking oils and yet because the Russians are blockading their ports on the Black Sea, they’re not able to export that crucial product that they need to earn revenue.
“Their men are out fighting. They’re not making the economy function as they would normally be doing and so it is up to Western countries to support the Ukrainian economy, not just for the next few weeks or months.”
He added: “I rather fear it’s for several years to come because my sort of best sort of guess would be that this war is likely to carry on as a horrible First World War style war of attrition, probably for some years because I don’t see where the compromise is at the moment that both President Zelenskyy and Putin and his regime can accept as reasonable.”
Speaking to Alastair Stewart in an exclusive interview on GB News, he said Ukrainian president Zelenskyy has spoken about a long haul ahead.
“President Zelenskyy has said and there’ll be a time when he will want to talk to maybe whoever succeeds him [Putin] in Russia, but it’s not the time now for allies of Ukraine in the West to be talking about that step,” said Sir David.
“If you put yourself in the shoes of President Zelenskyy and people around him in Ukraine, they have seen what has happened in those parts of their country that have been occupied by the Russians – murders, rapes, cold blooded killings of civilians…
“Russia is going to be next door to Ukraine in perpetuity so at some point in the future Ukrainians will probably say that this is the moment when a deal has to be struck.
“But that is not now, it’s not now while Russian forces are committing atrocities in Ukraine, as could be seen just in the last week the bombing of shopping mall that the the missile attacks on a holiday resort down near Odessa.”
Alastair said that a Ukrainian MP has praised Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership on Ukraine and asked Sir David if he thought his reputation had been damaged by the John Pincher affair.
He responded: “I think his authority has been damaged by this episode, as he has been blamed for all the things that have been happening in domestic politics.
“I think you could believe that is true at the same time as thinking that on Ukraine he has exercised both national and international leadership and he’s been doing the right thing.
“They know he’s done the right thing in Ukraine. There are things on the domestic front that have gone badly wrong.”