Vladimir Putin’s crumbling army is headed for total collapse in what could be Russia’s biggest military disaster in 100 years, an ex-NATO commander has said.
General Sir Richard Shirreff, who served as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe for the alliance, even said Ukrainian forces could have successfully repulsed Putin’s forces by the end of 2022.
The Russian tyrant has fired rockets at Ukraine in retaliation for the bombing of its prized bridge in Crimea, widely believed to have been carried out by Kiev’s forces.
But despite the heavy toll on civilians and the barrage’s destruction of Ukraine’s cities, Sir Richard believes that Putin’s army is actually headed for disaster.
“I think the scene is being set for a decisive defeat by the Russian army in Ukraine,” he told The Sun Online.
He hailed the “master class” counter-offensive that has seen Putin’s men pushed back in eastern and southern Ukraine – adding that the insurgency will “maintain momentum”.
Ukrainian forces are now pushing toward the key city of Kherson as they make massive gains in regions Putin had been trying to claim as part of Russia.
To turn the tide, Putin is reportedly massing troops in Belarus, which borders Ukraine and whose dictator Alexander Lukashenko is a close ally.
Belarus was the launch pad for the initial Russian invasion that started the Ukraine war and there are fears they may attempt a repeat attempt to encircle the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
In response, Ukrainian troops were seen moving to reinforce the border amid fears Putin might even use Belarus for nuclear strikes.
But Sir Richard believes that will do little good and that the cornered Russians have no way out of their desperate plight.
“The Russians are like the boxer trapped in the corner of the ring against a very agile opponent who punches one side and then the other,” he said.
He added: “For the Ukrainians to push the Russians back to the line of February 23 – the day before the start of the war – by the end of 2022 I think is quite feasible.”
But while optimistic, Sir Richard warned that the danger – including the threat of nuclear weapons – was far from gone and urged the West to keep up the pressure on Putin.
“We should take this nuclear threat very seriously – but we certainly shouldn’t turn a blind eye and I’m quite encouraged by the West’s response,” he said.
“But if we promise massive retaliation one way or another, you have to prepare for the worst case, and the worst case is a war with Russia.”
And he drew a grim comparison between Putin and Adolf Hitler, saying the Russian leader is now “in the bunker” as the German dictator was in the closing days of World War II.
“We are dealing with sensitive political issues at the moment but nonetheless – we may not want this war but this war does want us,” Sir Richard told The Sun Online.
“We have to prepare for the worst case scenario. This is about insurance. The way to avoid a possible war with Russia is to be prepared for it, and we are not prepared for it.”
But even with the specter of nuclear war looming over the conflict, there is still hope for Ukrainians as they weave through a crumbling Russian.
Sir Richard compared the defeat to the total collapse of the Russian Tsar’s military in 1917.
During the revolution, soldiers mutinied and refused to obey orders, ending Russia’s involvement in World War I.
“The scenery is preparing for a collapse of the Russian army,” the general told The Sun Online.
There will be no peace in Europe as long as either Putin, a Putin-like regime or an ultra-nationalist sits in the Kremlin
“It could be an avalanche and we’re seeing the cracks in the snow now.”
He added: “Ukrainians create more problems than Russians can solve.
“It looks good.”
Ukraine’s successes have been compounded by Russian failures – with Putin’s “fundamentally kleptocratic and corrupt” military hopelessly underarming its men.
And now there has been a “completely chaotic” conscript mobilization, with reports of men being left without food or other basic resources.
Putin is also making uninformed decisions about the war at the top of the Kremlin – with Vlad reportedly increasingly isolated, disconnected from reality and surrounded by his cronies.
“That [Russian] Morale is gone,” explained Sir Richard.
“You have soldiers who just don’t want to fight – these guys were told they would be welcomed with open arms by cheering crowds and the so-called ‘Ukrainian Nazis’ would collapse.
“But they met fierce resistance, they are in a country that doesn’t want them there. Why should they die for Putin’s adventures?
“Conceptually, the Russians don’t understand combined arms warfare, they haven’t trained properly, physically they don’t have the right equipment and what they have is garbage, and morally they’re completely bankrupt.”
And even with winter and the “rasputitsa” rain rolling in to churn up the thick mud, that might not slow Ukraine down.
“If the winter is so cold that the ground freezes, Ukrainians will keep driving,” Sir Richard told The Sun Online.
“The Ukrainians are well prepared, they have the clothes, they have the equipment, and they have the morale and the motivation – they will not stop.”
Putin faced fresh humiliation when his prized Kerch Bridge was blown up – partially severing the one fixed link between mainland Russia and the Crimean Peninsula.
Russia responded with a wave of indiscriminate bombings in cities across the country as enraged Putin branded them “terrorists” and his key ally said this was only the “first episode”.
Fears also remain that Vlad may carry out his nuclear threats as he is increasingly cornered by Ukraine and the West.
And even questions remain about his future, with it becoming increasingly difficult to imagine how he can remain Russia’s leader, or even survive, in the face of further Kremlin humiliations.
“There will be no peace in Europe as long as either Putin, a Putin-like regime or an ultra-nationalist is in the Kremlin,” Sir Richard told The Sun Online.
“The only way to ensure that the threat ends after the fighting ends is to ensure that Ukraine is a member of NATO, and NATO has to bite the bullet and have troops on the ground and forces in the air over the air.” Station Ukraine.
“The way to keep peace and deter war is to be ready for it, and that means a generational challenge with serious military spending not unlike the Cold War.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6414701/putin-disaster-100-years-nato-commander/ Putin’s army on brink of TOTAL COLLAPSE in worst military disaster in 100 years despite missile attack, says ex-NATO chief