Leader: Putin’s crimes must strengthen resolve

With each week that passes since Russia's invasion of Ukraine comes fresh evidence of war crimes. Human rights lawyer Baroness Kennedy yesterday said “serious offences of a grievous kind” have been committed against civilians, with troops given "tacit permission" to commit rape.

Baroness Kennedy, who is part of a legal taskforce helping to build war crimes cases, said: “There are many crimes, we’ve witnessed them on our news: bombing residential areas, bombing hospitals and orphanages, the business of bombing the theatre where it was quite clear that citizens, civilians, were in hiding and the word children was plastered on the ground so any aerial bombardment could see what they were dealing with and yet they bombed that place to smithereens, those are crimes.”All of which must only strengthen the West's resolve to defeat Russian president Vladimir Putin and drive him out of Ukraine, where his focus is now firmly in the east.Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky singled out the UK and the US for praise at the weekend, amid accusations Britain blocked requests to strengthen Kyiv’s defences after Russia’s annexation of Crimea eight years ago.Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden yesterday said "it would be good to see more" from other allies, such as Germany and France, conceding the possibility the Kremlin could win the war.But no one in the West should be in any doubt that Putin is now on the back foot. He has been driven out in Kyiv and elsewhere and he can be defeated in the parts of eastern Ukraine currently under Russian control.Neither should anyone be cowed by Putin's sabre-rattling over Russia's new nuclear missile, which he claims will be ready by the autumn.The Sarmat has been dubbed “Satan2” by Western officials because it is a faster and more deadly replacement for a Soviet system known as “Satan”.The weapon, which Putin watched being tested last week, has a range of 12,000 miles, flies at five times the speed of sound, and carries up to 15 warheads, which analysts have said could wipe out several British cities in one go.Instead, the focus should remain on squeezing the Russian economy through sanctions and providing Ukraine with the equipment it needs.Otherwise the Kremlin will target other countries on its borders.

A part of a destroyed tank and a burned vehicle sit in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)
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