John O'Sullivan has claimed Vladimir Putin is "going around the world asking Jihadists and other revolutionary terrorists to come join the gangs" because he was not prepared for the level of defence that Ukraine has shown as his soldiers continue to hit the country's capital, Kyiv.
Russia has stepped up its bombardment of Kyiv, smashing apartments and a subway station, while 20,000 people fled Mariupol along a humanitarian corridor in what was believed to be the biggest evacuation yet from the besieged port.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a flag-raising ceremony on the ferry Marshal Rokossovsky via a video link. SPUTNIK
On the diplomatic front, talks between Russian and Ukrainian representatives have become “more constructive”, according to Kyiv, and the leaders of three European Union countries — including Poland, a Nato member on Ukraine’s doorstep — visited the embattled capital in a bold show of support.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said barrages hit four multi-storey buildings in the city and killed dozens of people. The shelling ignited a huge fire in a 15-storey apartment building and spurred a frantic rescue effort.
In a statement that seemed to signal potential grounds for agreement with Moscow, Mr Zelenskyy told European leaders gathered in London that he realises Nato has no intention of accepting Ukraine.
“We have heard for many years about the open doors, but we also heard that we can’t enter those doors,” he said. “This is the truth, and we have simply to accept it as it is.”
Nato does not admit nations with unsettled territorial conflicts.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. Matt Dunham
The UN said close to 700 civilians in Ukraine have been confirmed killed, but the true figure is probably much higher.
Fighting has intensified on Kyiv’s outskirts in recent days, and air raid sirens wailed inside the capital. Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced a 35-hour curfew extending until Thursday morning.
Ukraine’s parliament voted to extend martial law for another month, until April 24. Under the measure, requested by Mr Zelenskyy, men between 18 and 60 are barred from leaving the country so they can be called up to fight.
Now, journalist and former speechwriter for Margaret Thatcher John O'Sullivan has claimed Putin is having to ask "revolutionary terrorists" for their help in conquering the capital.
He told GB News' Mark Steyn: "If Putin had any hopes, and he still has got serious hopes of getting some kind of a victory from this war, those hopes would not survive at all if he were to leave the control of the major capital in the opposition.
"He has to in some sense or other take it, or else withdraw.
"They have to have a hell of a lot more soldiers around Kyiv and in Ukraine than they now have.
"It doesn’t seem like he’s going to be able to produce them, that’s why he’s going around the world asking Jihadists and other revolutionary terrorists to come join the gangs because they are experienced in street fighting, in man-to-man fighting.
"It’s a real problem for him. I don’t think it’s one that he expected at all.
"We’re not as afraid of it as we used to be.
"If it can’t take on the Ukrainians, how is it going to take on the whole of NATO?"