Vladimir Putin is leading Russia to defeat and humiliation in Ukraine, according to one of Moscow’s most respected military figures, who also blames the President for uniting the West with his disastrous invasion.
Retired army colonel-general Leonid Ivashov had called for the president’s resignation a year ago before the war started over a ‘criminal’ policy in ‘provoking’ an ‘artificial’ conflict, foreseeing it would trigger disaster.
Ivashov, chairman of the independent All-Russian Officers’ Assembly and a former top aide to a famous Soviet defence minister, lambasted Putin, declaring: ‘We did not expect such a series of mistakes, wrong actions during this military operation.’
‘What happened in the end? Basically what we expected, but much worse,’ said the general, a key figure in the Soviet-era Red Army and later the Russian military, in an interview with Republic independent media.
‘At the operational-tactical level, we did not think that within a year we would not be able to liberate the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
‘We did not think that there would be such heavy losses, although I then said there would be tens of thousands of dead on both sides.
‘But everything turned out to be much worse.’
Some estimates say the losses on both sides are now over 200,000, and rising fast. Russia alone is estimated to have lost as many as 140,000 since February last year.
‘It was not expected that there would be such destruction: in fact, entire small towns and villages were demolished to their foundations,’ Ivashov said.
‘Further, I wrote that we would find ourselves a pariah state, but, frankly, I did not think that we would not have a single ally that has serious influence on the political, economic or military-technical level.’
Ivashov blames Putin for triggering a new alignment between the US and China, and expects this to bear fruit with the pair holding the major sway in the world.
Putin’s disastrous invasion of Ukraine had ‘saved NATO’ with Finland and Sweden due to join, he continued. ‘We have delivered the whole of Europe into the hands of the Americans…’ due to Putin’s ineptness.
‘There was no Collective West before, there were a lot of contradictions there. And today we are creating this Collective West with our own hands.’
Ivashov said Putin blundered by not properly seeking other solutions in Donetsk and Luhansk, before launching his invasion.
‘Did we raise this issue at the UN General Assembly? No! We immediately moved tanks there. Every problem has multiple solutions. And most importantly – do not choose the worst. But we, unfortunately, chose the worst.’
He also scathingly criticised Putin for the use of private armies in the conflict, stressing it leads to confused command structures.
Putin deployed the Wagner Private Military company in Ukraine, which has played a large part in the seven-month-long battles raging around the city of Bakhmut – a major target for Putin’s invading troops.
Wagner has claimed to take towns in the region singlehandedly, publicly embarrassing the Russian Armed Forces.
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