Defence Secretary Says "Deeply Irrational" Vladimir Putin Has Broken International Law
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has reiterated his claim that the Russian President had "gone full tonto" after the country's invasion of Ukraine, and accused him of breaking international law.
Russian forces continued their assault on Ukraine overnight as western officials warned President Putin was intent on seizing the capital city of Kyiv and removing Ukrainian leadership.
Ukraine was rocked with a series of explosions from missile and bomb attacks through the night as Putin's forces attempted to gain a foothold in the country, but have faced severe resistance from Ukrainian troops.
Speaking on Thursday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the unprovoked attack on a peaceful nation "certainly amounts to a breach of international law" and insisted the behaviour of the Russian Federation could be "held to account" for war crimes committed on the ground.
"We summoned the defence attache to the Minister of Defence yesterday, I made sure he was reminded of his obligations under the Geneva Convention," Wallace told Sky News.
"The track record of Russia in places like Chechnya is not good, but nevertheless, those commanders, whether senior or junior, will be held responsible and in this day and age, the good news is that we know who they are, we can find out who they are should they commit war crimes."
Wallace said he wasn't qualified to comment on whether Putin could be hauled before the Hague to face a war crimes tribunal, but insisted the Russian President had gone "full tonto" after making the decision to invade Ukraine.
"If President Putin commits a war crime, then just as I do if was to commit a war crime, I should expect to be held to account," he said."I am not an international lawyer, I couldn't tell you the difference between international law in so far as directing your forces to direct another country versus a war crime."
I certainly think what he is doing is deeply irrational, I think he has gone full tonto which is what I said the other day in talking to some other soldiers."
He added: "No one in their right mind would do what we are seeing on our TV's today. No one else would impose their will on another sovereign country with all sorts of concocted conspiracies and very bizarre readings of history unless somehow they were acting deeply irrationally."
Labour leader Keir Starmer said his party had been "very clear" they supported a united stance against the Russian President.
"We are unshakeable in our support of Nato. It is very important because Putin wants to see Nato and our allies dividied, Putin wants to see political parties in the United Kingdom and elsewhere divided, but we are not going to be divided."
Speaking after the UK and other western countries imposed sweeping new sanctions against Russia, Starmer said that while he backed the latest measures, he wanted the government to go "even further" to help support the "incredible courage" of Ukrainian forces.
"Although I didn't think the sanctions that our government put forward earlier in the week were strong enough, a stronger package was put in yesterday. I have indicated the Labour Party will support that, but I want to see the government go even further than that," he said.
"In the past, we have not been strong enough in response to Putin. That has given him the idea that the benefits of his aggression outweigh the costs, and we cannot allow that to happen again. The package we put in now must be enough not just to isolate Russia, but to cripple its ability to function."
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