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The chutzpah of Putin’s ambassador to the UK has exposed a brutal truth

It was the sheer chutzpah and brazen confidence of the ambassador’s performance that was most striking.

His words speak volumes about the way Russia believes this war is now moving in its favour.

Andrei Kelin, Vladimir Putin’s ambassador to the UK, is a career civil servant.

In an interview with Sky News’ Yalda Hakim, he chose his words and tone carefully.

He was able to sound assured because Ukrainians are not winning this war and at times he was even able to rub salt in their wounds.

He claimed the frontline in Ukraine is moving steadily westwards and the country is struggling to fund and resource its war effort.

Russia, on the other hand, has weathered the worst of Western sanctions and its military industrial complex is more than up to the challenge of supplying its war effort.

That is broadly speaking true, give or take some hyperbole, and it highlights the perilous state of Ukraine’s war machine given ongoing doubts about continued American financial support.

The West should now understand its mistakes in supporting Ukraine, Mr Kelin said.

Ukraine should also accept that resisting the invasion was a mistake.

An astonishing claim.

God knows how many more atrocities like Bucha would have been visited on Ukraine had it not put up a fight.

Quite some chutzpah from the ambassador then given the quite staggering cost of the war to Russia – 300,000 troops dead or injured, thousands of tanks destroyed and its economy cut off from the West.

But that is not the point.

Pic: Reuters
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Firefighters work at site of a Russian drone strike in Kharkiv this month. Pic: Reuters

Mr Kelin’s ability to even half-land some punches on Ukraine and the West’s flagging record in this war highlights the way the conflict is going.

The brutal truth is the Putin regime has got away with taking chunks out of its neighbour by force.

In a stomach-churning moment, Mr Kelin laughed as he taunted Ukrainians for not surrendering Mariupol early enough to avoid its destruction.

That will anger people watching in Ukraine the most.

Bizarrely, he said most of the city’s population had been Greek – as if that made its fate more acceptable.

The port city had many nationalities but most were Ukrainian and more than 10,000 people died when it was annihilated by Russian forces.

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An aerial view shows residential buildings that were damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 3, 2022. Picture taken April 3, 2022. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Pavel Klimov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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An aerial view shows residential buildings that were damaged in Russia’s attack on Mariupol in 2022. Pic: AP

If diplomacy is the patriotic art of lying for one’s country, the ambassador is an accomplished practitioner of its dark arts.

He peddled the Kremlin’s false narratives that peace talks were singlehandedly scuppered by Boris Johnson, NATO was installing bases in Ukraine and that Russia is a working democracy.

But then this is the same ambassador who told Sky News that Russia had no plans to invade Ukraine a month before it did just that.

But there is some truth in his assessment of the state of the war, or enough of it to worry the West.

Ukraine has failed to dislodge the invaders.

The West has failed to punish Russia for its unprovoked aggression.

And now Russian diplomats are sounding increasingly confident as they mock and taunt the victims of their invasion.

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