As the reverberations of the Skripal affair continue, I have been to eastern Ukraine to see the effect of Russia’s territorial ambitions on states the Kremlin considers to be part of its sphere of influence.
This is Europe’s forgotten war, between Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass and the Ukrainian government, which is determined to preserve sovereignty over the region.
In recent days, there has been an increase in shelling and sniper activity, making trips to the conflict zone risky. Even so, after a briefing in Kiev from Lt. Gen. Sergiy Bessarab, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine, I was escorted by the Ukrainian Defence Ministry to the Donbass region and the frontline, where I spent time talking to Ukrainian troops at an observation post and in the trenches.
I am looking forward to publishing more details of what was a fascinating trip in my forthcoming book on the state of the British Armed Forces, White Flag? The book will come out this autumn.