Putin has “lost control of the war”, the head of the British Armed Forces has said as Britain continues to double down on its support for Ukraine.
Admiral Sir Tony Radakin was joined by the Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps, on his trip to war-torn Kyiv.
The two met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and discussed new military aid.
It comes after British-designed £2.54m a piece Storm Shadow missiles were used to smash through the roof of Russia’s naval headquarters in Sevastopol, Crimea, during an attack dubbed a “blow to Putin’s dictatorship” by Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Sir Radakin said: “The recent strikes on the Black Sea Fleet are another example of how Ukraine retains the initiative. Putin has lost control of the war he started, and Russia is diminished as a consequence.”
Following his meeting with Zelensky, Mr Shapps said he asked the warring leader what he needed to win.
He said: “It was an honour to meet President Zelensky in Kyiv to assure him that the UK will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, as we have done since Putin illegally invaded Crimea nearly 10 years ago.”
The French defence minister, Sebastian Lecornum, was also tipped to hold talks with Zelensky.
He said: “We know that this war is going to last. We must ensure that tomorrow we continue to be reliable in our aid to Ukraine.”
It comes after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Ukraine’s allies “we must prepare ourselves for a long war” earlier this month.
Mr Stoltenberg said: “We are all wishing for a quick peace.
“But at the same time we must recognise: if president Zelensky and the Ukrainians stop fighting, their country will no longer exist.
“If president Putin and Russia lay down their weapons, we will have peace.”
The British MoD said Shapps’ and Radakin’s visit to Kyiv provided the opportunity to talk further about military support following last week’s Ukraine defence contact group meeting in Ramstein, Germany.
On X, Mr Zelensky said: “I received UK Defence Secretary (Grant Shapps) in Kyiv.
“I am profoundly grateful to the UK for all the financial, humanitarian and military support, including crucial long-range capabilities.
“We discussed further defence co-operation and steps to strengthen Ukraine’s air defence.”