Boris Johnson admits 'realistic possibility' that Russia could win the war in Ukraine, and that it may last until the end of 2023

Boris Johnson admits 'realistic possibility' that Russia could win the war in Ukraine, and that it may last until the end of 2023
Boris Johnson visits Mahatma Gandhi's memorial in New Delhi, India.Stefan Rousseau/WPA Pool/Getty Images
  • Boris Johnson has conceded it is a "realistic possibility" that Russia could win the war in Ukraine.
  • He also acknowledged suggestions that the war could last until the end of 2023.

Boris Johnson has said there is a "realistic possibility" that the war in Ukraine could continue until the end of next year, but insisted Vladimir Putin would not succeed in trying to "grind the Ukrainians down."

During a press conference in India Friday, the prime minister was asked about comments from Western officials, who suggested Putin was "still in a position to win," despite making strategic blunders, and whether the war could run on until the end of 2023.

Johnson said: "The sad thing is, that is a realistic possibility.

"Putin has a huge army. He has a very difficult political position because he's made a catastrophic blunder. The only option he now has really is to continue to try to use his his appalling, grinding approach — led by artillery — trying to grind the Ukrainians down. And he's very close to securing a land bridge in Mariupol."

Warning the situation remained "unpredictable," the prime minister praised the "incredible heroism of the Ukrainians and their willingness to fight."


He added: "No matter what military superiority Vladimir Putin may be able to bring to bear in the next few months — and I agree it could be it could be a long period — he will not be able to conquer the spirit of the Ukrainian people.

"That is just an observable fact. On the contrary, what he is doing every day is strengthening and reinforcing that will to resist in the people of Ukraine."

Johnson, who is under pressure back home over the long-running partygate saga, said Britain and its allies would "look at what more we can do militarily," highlighting the shipment of armored cars being sent to the region and plans to help "backfill" tanks in Poland, as well as economic sanctions, vowing "wave after wave of intensifying pressure on Putin."

Despite this lack of certainty, the prime minister also revealed that Britain will reopen its shuttered embassy in Kyiv.

The British government said in February, days before Russia invaded Ukraine, that its embassy office in Kyiv was relocating temporarily and staff were operating from an embassy office in the Western city of Lviv.