Russian Military’s ‘Incompetence’ Surpasses Expectation, Says NATO Commander

Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral James Stavridis makes a speech at the departure ceremony for OTAN Rapid Deployable Corps - Italy bound for Afghanistan at Ugo Mara Barracks in Solbiate Olona, Italy, on Jan. 10, 2013.

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said on Sunday that Russian troops’ “incompetence” have exceeded expectations in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The incompetence of the Russians, which has surpassed what I would have expected. They have simply failed to deliver logistics, a decent battle plan, [and] competent troops,” Stavridis said during an appearance on Sunday TODAY on NBC.

His remarks come after a number of successful advances by Ukrainian forces, including the Kharkiv counteroffensive, which pushed Russian forces to retreat from key cities such as Izium last week, indicating that Moscow is struggling in its war, according to experts.

The Eastern European country also launched a counteroffensive to take back areas in the southern Kherson region where it took back the village of Vysokopillia earlier this month. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that troops have regained control of around 2,320 square miles of territory since the counteroffensive launched earlier in September.

Above, a Russian military tank is seen being captured by Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region in Ukraine on September 10. Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said on Sunday that Russian troops’ “incompetence” have exceeded expectations in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Photo by JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images

The retired NATO commander made similar comments in May when he pointed out the Russian military’s “amazing incompetence,” noting at the time the several Russian generals died since the war began in February.

“In modern history, there is no situation comparable in terms of the deaths of generals,” Stavridis said at the time. “Just to make a point of comparison here, the United States, in all of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq…in all of those years and all of those battles, not a single general lost in actual combat.”

Russia began to heavily target Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, including hitting the country’s electricity grid as it loses momentum, the British Ministry of Defense said Sunday in an intelligence briefing.

On Thursday, the BBC reported that Russia fired missiles that hit a reservoir dam near the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, which flooded houses and prompted officials to evacuate some areas. Zelensky said that the dam had “no military value at all.”

Russian troops also recently targeted power plants, while some Russian officials said that they are still committed to fighting in Ukraine, despite experts pointing out their failures.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, told news agency Interfax on Friday that Russian attacks on power plants will only prompt Western nations to send better weapons to Ukraine.

The United States is set to send another $600 million worth of military assistance to Ukraine to help troops continue their counteroffensive operations. The military aid package includes additional arms, munitions and equipment from Defense Department inventories. The U.S. sent an a total of $15.8 billion worth of military aid since the invasion.

In August, Stavridis said during an interview on New York radio station WABC that he believes that Putin knows “he’s made a mistake” by invading Ukraine.

“Publicly, he’ll never admit that. Never. He’ll continue to maintain this fiction that Ukraine is run by ‘neo-Nazis.’ Ridiculous, obviously,” he said.

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