It’s a sad state of affairs when it needs to be voiced, but not everything the prime minister says is terminologically challenged. His record on Ukraine is one of the few areas in which he really has got the “big calls” right.
Boris Johnson tells us that Russian forces are continuing to “chew through the ground” in eastern Ukraine, and that Vladimir Putin is making “gradual, slow … palpable progress”. So he is, and while other news stories have understandably distracted the world, the Russians have gradually brought to bear the sheer weight of numbers to the battle. At great human cost to themselves and the civilian population, they are making advances, and gaining control in the Donbas and surrounding cities such Lyman, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.
The only tactic the Red Army knows, pulverising and laying siege to urban centres, is being deployed time and again. They are gaining ground, yet, as Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky says, they are inheriting only wastelands of their own making, depopulated and desolate.