A Cabinet minister has said there is evidence of war crimes being committed in Ukraine.

Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary, described the war as an “illegal invasion” and added that there is “evidence that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine”.

Appearing on Sophie Ridge on Sunday on Sky News, Mr Zahawi was asked if the UK Government agreed with Joe Biden that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power”, said: “I think that’s up to the Russian people.

“The Russian people, I think, are pretty fed up with what is happening in Ukraine, this illegal invasion, the destruction of their own livelihoods, their economy is collapsing around them and I think the Russian people will decide the fate of Putin and his cronies.”

In a highly-charged speech in Warsaw, Mr Biden appealed to Russian people directly, with comparisons between the invasion of Ukraine and the horrors of the Second World War.

Bournemouth Echo: (PA)(PA)

“For God’s sake this man cannot remain in power,” he said of the Russian president at the close of his speech. He earlier described Mr Putin as a “butcher”.

As multiple rockets struck the city of Lviv near the Polish border in the west of Ukraine, Mr Biden pleaded: “If you’re able to listen – you, the Russian people, are not our enemy.”

But a White House official tried to argue that the US president’s point was that the Russian leader “cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region”.

“He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change,” the official said, before reports in the US suggested the remarks in question had not been scripted.

Pressed further about the US president’s comments on regime change in Russia, Mr Zahawi told Sophy Ridge On Sunday on Sky News: “It’s an illegal invasion of Ukraine and that must end, and I think that’s what the president was talking about.”

Asked if Mr Biden was wrong to say what he did, Mr Zahawi replied: “No, what I’m saying to you is the White House has been very clear on this, the president gave a very powerful speech on this and I think both the United States and the United Kingdom agree that it’s up to the Russian people to decide who should be governing them.”