Ukraine: Russia must withdraw its forces, pay reparations and send war criminals to face justice – Angus Robertson MSP

Russia is losing the war it started in Ukraine. Things are so bad they are having to conscript young, old, fit and unfit Russians for the meatgrinder.

The fraudulent referenda held at gun-point in four Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, which allegedly showed support for the regions to join the Russian state, only reveal the desperation of Vladimir Putin to project the illusion that he is in control.

In reality, Russia is very much on the back foot. In the Donetsk region – one of those which Putin has claimed to annex – Russian troops have had to scarper from the city of Lyman after becoming encircled by Ukrainian forces.

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Ukraine’s general staff and their soldiers are showing the world they are executing a devastatingly efficient and effective military strategy. Now, Ukraine’s army is advancing in the south, where it appears they will encircle Russian troops once more.

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Of course, the end result is neither close nor certain, and we must not let up on our support. The West must continue to send arms to Ukraine and agree further sanctions against Russia – the EU is meeting this week to do just that, as is the United States.

Peace will only be fully restored once Russia withdraws from the whole of Ukraine, pays reparations and all war criminals face justice.

In the meantime, all countries should help provide the necessary equipment, training and support to help Ukraine to prevail.

Ukrainian soldiers scavenge an abandoned Russian tank in Kyrylivka, in the recently retaken area near Kharkiv (Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images)

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary