UKRAINE has “broken the backbone” of the Russian army – but the war will only come to an end through diplomacy, the country’s president has said.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Putin’s forces were not going to “regain their feet in the next several years”.

Speaking on Ukrainian ­television, he said his country had been ­adequately prepared for the ­invasion and the Russians “did not know about a number of things”.

But he also said even though his country could win on the battlefield, the war could only be conclusively ended “at the negotiating table”.

His comments came as President Joe Biden signed legislation to ­support Ukraine with another £32 billion in US assistance as the Russian invasion approaches its fourth month.

The legislation deepens the US commitment to Ukraine at a time of uncertainty about the war’s future.

Ukraine has successfully ­defended Kyiv, and Russia has refocused its offensive on the country’s east, but American officials warn of the ­potential for a prolonged conflict.

The funding is intended to support Ukraine through September, and it dwarfs an earlier emergency measure that provided £10.9bn.

Meanwhile, Russia has halted gas exports to neighbour Finland, just days after the Nordic country ­announced it wanted to join Nato.

The measure taken by the ­Russian energy giant Gazprom was in line with an earlier announcement ­following Helsinki’s refusal to pay for the gas in rubles as Russian president Putin has demanded European countries do since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Finnish state-owned gas ­company Gasum said that ­“natural gas supplies to Finland under Gasum’s supply contract have been cut off” by Russia on Saturday ­morning at 7am local time.

The announcement follows Moscow’s decision to cut off electricity exports to Finland earlier this month and an earlier decision by the Finnish state-controlled oil company Neste to replace imports of Russian crude oil with crude oil from elsewhere.

After decades of energy cooperation that was seen beneficial for both Helsinki — particularly in the case of inexpensive Russian crude oil — and Moscow, Finland’s energy ties with Russia are now all but gone.

Such a break was easier for Finland than it will be for other European Union nations. Natural gas accounts for just some 5% of total energy consumption in Finland, a country of 5.5 million.

Matti Vanhanen, the former Finnish prime minister and current speaker of Parliament, said the effect of Moscow’s decision to cut off gas after nearly 50 years since the first deliveries from the Soviet Union began is above all symbolic.

He said it marks an end of “a ­hugely important period between Finland, the Soviet Union and Russia”.