Time running out for Russian army: Top British General says military 'in a mess'
Well over a week into Vladimir Putin's "special military operation", Russia is still battling for key cities like Kherson and Kyiv. Even those cities they have captured, like Mariupol, are defiantly refusing to submit to Russian rule. The situation has led many to predict that this is a war Russia won't win, with the latest to make that claim being Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the UK's Chief of Defense Staff.
In a new interview, Sir Tony weighed in on Russia's situation and indicated that it certainly seemed as if Russia would lose. There's plenty of evidence on the ground for that. We've seen many stories of brave Ukrainians take on Russia, such as one 'Tank man' in Kherson. Then there's also the heavy losses Russia has suffered, with one pilot dubbed 'The Ghost of Kyiv' reportedly shooting down six Russian jets. Finally, there are also the effects of international sanctions, which have hit both the Kremlin and oligarchs as well.
Those three factors were also mentioned by Sir Tony in his interview with the BBC as he spoke about the current situation in Ukraine. He also joined with western leaders to refuse a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a move President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called for.
'Russia is suffering, Russia is an isolated power'
In his wide-ranging interview, Sir Tony touched upon several factors in the Ukraine war. On Russia's chances, he said, "I think we've seen a Russian invasion that is not going well." He noted, "we're also seeing remarkable resistance by Ukraine" and " we're seeing the unity of the whole globe coming together" as key factors affecting Putin's chances. Most importantly, however, Sir Tony noted that it was the Russian troops that were letting their President down.
"You've also seen basic failures in terms of maintenance and their kit failing. Russia hasn't operated at this scale since the Second World War and it is incredibly complex and difficult," he said. He noted the troops were "In a mess" and note the example of the massive column that has now come to a halt outside Kyiv as a prime example of this. As a result, Sir Tony said, "'Russia is suffering, Russia is an isolated power. It is less powerful than it was ten days ago." He said Russia had lost more troops in a week than the UK had in 20 years in Afghanistan, and noted that low morale forced many to abandon their posts and equipment.
However, he also offered a bleaker outlook. "We are likely to see Russia ratcheting up the violence. We're going to see more indiscriminate shelling, we're going to see more ridiculous violence," he told the BBC. It appears Putin is getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress, and consequently may allow more war crimes to take place. There's already widespread footage of attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, which many have said constitutes a war crime. In fact, Russia is believed to have violated a ceasefire that was put in place to enable humanitarian aid and evacuations from Mariupol.
On the no-fly zone of Kyiv, Sir Tony said it would be "tactically ineffective" and "might lead to miscalculation or escalation." He also urged British military personnel not to join Ukraine's Foreign Legion, saying it was "unlawful and unhelpful". But it's his words on the state of Russia's military that are likely to bring the most relief. If things continue to progress in the light, it does seem like Russia will lose the war, but that poses another big question - will Putin resort to nuclear weapons?
"We will also be incredibly confident in our ability to face down President Putin," Sir Tony said while playing down Putin's nuclear threat. One can only hope he is right.