Putin has ‘already lost’ after Ukraine misjudgements, says military chief

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has “already lost” with his invasion of Ukraine after making series of “catastrophic misjudgements”, the UK Armed Forces’ chief has said.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the chief of the defense staff, said the president had allowed himself to be “misled” on the strength of his own forces, as Russia’s military get pushed back in parts of Ukraine.

“The coming weeks will continue to be very difficult – but in ways ways Putin has already lost,” Sir Tony said in a speech to the Institute for Government on Thursday.

“Far from being the far-sighted manipulator of events that he would have us believe, Putin has damaged himself through a series of catastrophic misjudgments,” the Armed Forces boss said.

Sir Tony added: “Like all authoritarians, he allowed himself to be misled as to his own strength – including the effectiveness of the Russian armed forces.”

The chief of the defense staff said Putin failed to understand “how deeply the notions of sovereign, democracy and national identity have taken root in Ukraine” – and also failed to anticipate “the unity and cohesion” of the west.

He added: “What is clear is that Putin is a weaker and more diminished figure today than he was a month ago. Nato is stronger and more united today than at any time I can remember.”

The military leader’s remarks come as head of the GCHQ intelligence agency Sir Jeremy Fleming used a rare public speech to say it is clear that Mr Putin “misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainian people”.

Sir Jeremy said: “He under-estimated the strength of the coalition his actions would galvanise. He underplayed the economic consequences of the sanctions regime. He over-estimated the abilities of his military to secure a rapid victory.”

He said in a speech in Australia: “We’ve seen Russian soldiers – short of weapons and morale – refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment, and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft.

The GCHQ chief added: “And even though we believe Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth, what’s going on and the extent of these misjudgments must be crystal clear to the regime.”

However, western official said Russian forces have continued shelling the strategically important Ukrainian city of Chernihiv – despite promises to scale back operations.

UK defense intelligence analysts believe only a “limited number” of units have withdrawn from around Kyiv following Russia’s announcement at talks in Istanbul on Tuesday that it would “fundamentally” reduce military activity near the capital and Chernihiv.

Meanwhile, a former commander of UK land forces suggested Nato has been “defeated” because Vladimir Putin called the alliance’s bluff by invading Ukraine – arguing that a smaller coalition of nations will be needed to respond militarily to Moscow.

General Sir Nick Parker, who has also acted as an adviser to Ukraine’s defense ministry, said Nato had adopted a defensive position by putting a protective ring around its members but not being prepared to develop an “offensive counter-strategy to Putin”.

“Slightly controversially I suppose – I mean Nato’s been defeated, Nato’s bluff was called,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Sir Nick said: “We were unable to stop the Russians trampling all over Ukraine and now Nato is holding the line of the 2004 expansion, along the line of the Baltic states and Poland and Hungary and Romania.”

He added that the alliance does not have the capacity “to move on to the offensive with its 30 nations all with slightly different views” and so “we need to have a smaller of coalition nations who can start to develop an offensive counter-strategy to Putin”.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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