The defence secretary has warned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is set to become “more violent”.

Ben Wallace said that although the Ukrainians were putting up “a very strong fight” the reality was they were going up against “the overwhelming scale of the Russian Federation Army”.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said of Russia: “They are behind schedule, they are taking significant casualties and they are feeling public rejection in parts of the Russian system itself; we’ve seen many protests.

“But the Russian handbook is to then get more violent and commit more forces because fundamentally in the Russian, sort of, doctrine the lives of their own soldiers matter much less than in other armed forces.

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“So we have to brace ourselves for what may come next, which could be ruthless, indiscriminate bombing of cities and propelling forward of soldiers and high casualty levels, and that’s going to be horrific.”

Next 24 hours “crucial” for Ukraine

Boris Johnson has told President Volodymyr Zelensky he will do “all he could” to ensure further military aid reaches Ukrainian forces, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister spoke to the Ukrainian president again on Sunday, praising the “heroic” resistance of the Ukrainian people in the face of the Russian attack, according to the No 10 readout of the call.

Mr Zelensky said, in turn, that the next 24 hours will be “a crucial period” for his country.

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“The Prime Minister lauded the bravery of the Ukrainian people following the Russian invasion and praised the leadership of President Zelensky in the face of such adversity,” a No 10 spokesman said. “The resistance of the Ukrainian people was heroic, the Prime Minister added.

“President Zelensky said he believed the next 24 hours was a crucial period for Ukraine, and the Prime Minister said he would do all he could to help ensure defensive aid from the UK and allies reached Ukraine.

“The leaders agreed to continue to stay in close contact and the Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s staunch support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

Are sanctions on Russia working?

The Russian rouble sank nearly 26% against the US dollar early on Monday after Western nations moved to block Russian banks from the Swift global payment system.

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The rouble was trading at a record low 105.27 per dollar (£78.95), down from about 84 per dollar (£63) late on Friday.

Over the weekend, Japan joined the moves by the US and other western nations to impose more sanctions against Russia.

Restrictions on the Russian central bank target its access to more than 600 billion dollars (£450 billion) in reserves the Kremlin has at its disposal. They hinder Russia’s ability to support the rouble as it plunges in value.

Sanctions announced earlier had taken the Russian currency to its lowest level against the dollar in history.