Biggest miscalculation Ukrainian MP issues warning to Vladimir Putin over invasion

Ukrainian MPs sing in parliament in defiance of Russia

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Inna Sovsun hailed her countrymen and women for their resistance to Russia’s invasion. The deputy leader of the Holos Party, who lives in Kyiv, said Putin’s “greatest miscalculation” was thinking he was only up against Ukraine’s army, when he is actually facing millions of citizens.

Ms Sovsun was born and raised in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, which has come under heavy bombardment from Russian forces, prompting accusations against Moscow of war crimes.

But she insisted people in that city – and elsewhere – remain determined in the face of the terrifying onslaught.

Ms Sovsun said: “I’m getting messages from people in Kharkiv. They are all saying, ‘We sit in bunkers for three days.’ But not a single voice that I’ve heard from Kharkiv is a voice of desperation.

“Every single voice is like, ‘Let’s just kick them as hard as possible’ or ‘Let’s just punish them for what they’re doing to us’.”

Ms Sovsun said the Ukrainians are united in the fight against Putin.

She said: “Everyone is just doing everything they can.

“I think everyone just found what is best suited to his or her skills or background and is just finding ways to do that.

“And it’s not because we’re being told what to do – that is important to understand. It’s because people want to.”

The 37-year-old added: “You have 40 million Ukrainians, every single one of us doing what we can right now in order to help fight Putin.

“That is his greatest miscalculation because he was thinking he is fighting the Ukrainian army.

“But he is actually fighting 40 million Ukrainians.”

Moscow’s assault enters its ninth day today, but defiant Ms Sovsun insisted Putin will fail.

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She said: “Putin will never defeat Ukraine, that is for sure. That’s out of the question. I’m not even thinking about that.

“Putin is a dictator. He believes that there is one person ruling the country and everyone else is just subject to him.

“So he was thinking the same about Ukraine. He was thinking that he will simply come over here and he will bombard our cities and everyone will be just so afraid that they will surrender.”

Ms Sovsun urged the West to implement a no-fly zone above Ukraine to prevent air raids.

Boris Johnson and other Nato leaders continue to reject that plea amid fears shooting down a Russian plane could spark a wider conflict.

But Ms Sovsun said: “It’s important to understand that we’re not just protecting ourselves right now, we’re actually protecting the whole of Europe.

“If Ukraine is defeated, Putin will proceed further and that is why we are asking for the support.

“I’m hearing those arguments that the Western states don’t want to get involved.

“But let’s imagine that he wins here. He will proceed further – to Poland, to Hungary, to the Baltic states – and Western states will have to get involved.

“So in ways of protecting democracy, I think the West needs to help us protect Ukraine and to help us protect Europe.”

Ms Sovsun is also calling for tougher economic sanctions on Russia and more weapons for Ukraine’s army.

The MP is staying in Kyiv with a friend – who has a home with a basement – as a 40-mile Russian convoy advances.

She said: “My son is in the west of Ukraine, my boyfriend is with the army.

“So I really hate Putin for me not being able to see my son and my boyfriend for a week now.”

She has vowed to fight the Russians if she has to and described the war as “surreal”.

But Ms Sovsun insisted: “At this point everyone understands that this is happening.

“We cannot just panic. We need to get the job done.

“And we’re doing everything possible, everything in our power, to get it done.”

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