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Ukraine: Putin has gone ‘full tonto’ with invasion, says Ben Wallace

In unguarded comments, defence secretary also says Scots Guards ‘kicked the backside’ of a Russian leader in the Crimean War and ‘we can do it again’

David Hughes
Wednesday 23 February 2022 12:43 GMT
Joe Biden says that Russia 'attacked Ukraine's right to exist'

Vladimir Putin has gone “full tonto”, Ben Wallace has suggested following the latest escalation in the Ukraine crisis.

The defence secretary said the Russian president had made the mistake of having no allies in his actions, comparing him to Tsar Nicholas I during the Crimean War.

Mr Wallace, a former Scots Guards officer, said his regiment had “kicked the backside” of the tsar in the Crimea and “we can always do it again”.

The unguarded comments came as the Cabinet minister chatted with serving military personnel at the Horse Guards building in Westminster.

He said: “It’s going to be a busy Army.

“Unfortunately we’ve got a busy adversary now in Putin, who has gone full tonto.”

Mr Wallace said the UK has 1,000 personnel on stand-by to respond to the crisis, adding: “The Scots Guards kicked the backside of Tsar Nicholas I in 1853 in Crimea – we can always do it again.”

This infographic, created for The Independent by statistics agency Statista, shows the relative military strength of Ukraine and Russia (Statista/The Independent)

He continued: “Tsar Nicholas I made the same mistake Putin did… he had no friends, no alliances.”

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