Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during meeting with UK ambassador to NATO at NATO HQ amid Russia invasion threat to Ukraine 260122 CREDIT MOD
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during meeting with UK ambassador to NATO at NATO HQ amid Russia invasion threat to Ukraine (Picture: MOD).
Ukraine

Putin has gone 'full tonto' over Ukraine, Defence Secretary says

Ben Wallace said the Russian president has made the mistake of having no allies in his actions.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during meeting with UK ambassador to NATO at NATO HQ amid Russia invasion threat to Ukraine 260122 CREDIT MOD
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during meeting with UK ambassador to NATO at NATO HQ amid Russia invasion threat to Ukraine (Picture: MOD).

The UK Defence Secretary has said Vladimir Putin has gone "full tonto" following the latest escalation in the Ukraine crisis.

Ben Wallace said the Russian president has made the mistake of having no allies in his actions, comparing him to Tsar Nicholas I during the Crimean War.

Mr Wallace, a former Scots Guards officer, said his regiment had "kicked the backside" of the tsar in the Crimea and "we can always do it again".

He also said the UK has 1,000 personnel on stand-by to respond to the crisis.

The unguarded comments came as the Cabinet minister chatted with serving military personnel at the Horse Guards building in Westminster.

Watch: Putin approved to use military force outside of Russia.

"It's going to be a busy Army," he said.

"Unfortunately, we've got a busy adversary now in Putin, who has gone full tonto."

Mr Wallace's assessment of Mr Putin's mental state came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused the Russian leader of being "in an illogical and irrational frame of mind".

Mr Wallace told reporters he was keeping the possibility of sending further weapons to Ukraine "under constant review".

"We're in a pretty good position to deliver any type of aid pretty quickly to Ukraine, no matter what that aid is," he said.

He suggested that Russian forces invading Ukraine could be followed by a mobile crematorium to help disguise the number of casualties inflicted during the potential war.

Watch: Does this footage show Russian tanks and military vehicles in Ukraine?

"Fundamentally, when you have over 60% of your combat forces poised on the borders of another state, the overwhelming scale of the Russian intimidation and forces – including some pretty horrendous weapons systems – are pretty worrying.

"And we also expect to see some of the things they've done previously. 

"Previously, they've deployed mobile crematoriums to follow troops around the battlefield, which in anyone's book is chilling.

"If I was a soldier, and knew that my generals had so little faith in me that they followed me around the battlefield in a mobile crematorium, or I was the mother or a father of a son, potentially deployed into a combat zone, and my government thought that the way to cover up loss was a mobile crematorium – I'd be deeply, deeply worried," he added.