Russian combat helicopter taken down by Ukrainian forces
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Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said Putin’s forces were suffering heavy losses, running out of troops and advanced missiles and would never be able to conquer all of Ukraine – a tough assessment for Moscow at a time of widespread shows of support by the West to Kyiv.
Sir Tony, Britain’s highest-ranking military officer, bluntly said: “This is a dreadful mistake by Russia.
“Russia will never take control of Ukraine.
“Russia has strategically lost already.”
Putin may well achieve achieve “tactical successes” in the weeks to come, Sir Tony said in an interview with PA Media published on Friday.
However, the admiral added, these “tiny” gains will come at the expense of a quarter of the Kremlin’s army power.
He said: “The Russian machine is grinding away, and it’s gaining a couple of — two, three, five — kilometres every day.”
Addressing Moscow’s losses of troops and hi-tech missiles, Sir Tony warned Russia would emerge from the war, which is to hit the four-month mark next week, as a “more diminished power”.
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He said: “President Putin has used about 25 percent of his army’s power to gain a tiny amount of territory and 50,000 people either dead or injured. Russia is failing.”
Meanwhile, he emphasised, the North Atlantic Alliance is growing.
The army chief said: “NATO is stronger, Finland and Sweden are looking to join.”
The two Nordic nations, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, applied to become members of the Alliance.
If accepted, they will contribute to the enlargement of the organisation, which is what Putin aimed to prevent in the first place.
However, approval is needed from all 30 members and then ratified by their parliaments for any newcomers to be welcomed to NATO, and Turkey — part of the organisation since 1952 — is so far objecting.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s reservations are linked to the government’s allegation that Finland and Sweden harbour members of Kurdish militant groups it considers terrorist organisations.
While this could theoretically call into question the plans to redraw the geopolitical map of northern Europe, NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana this week said senior officials are “confident that Sweden and Finland will join our ranks” despite Ankara’s concerns.
Intelligence reports by the West largely point to an overestimation by Putin of his country’s military capabilities.
Yet, Kyiv remains cautious in its judgement of the invaders’ power and has not ceased to stress just how crucial support from Western nations — especially through weapon supplies — is for the war-torn nation to survive.
President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Tuesday: “I am sure that if Ukraine is not strong enough, they will go further.
“We have shown to them our strength. And it is important for this strength to be also demonstrated together with us by our Western partners as well.”
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Western military aid, he said, “has to come quicker” if Ukraine’s allies want to hinder the Kremlin’s territorial ambitions.
Responding to the call on the same day, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said he agreed that Kyiv should be supplied with more long-range heavy weaponry, though provided no details.
It followed an announcement by the United States that it was “prepared to continue to provide substantial, unprecedented support” by sending an additional £813million ($1billion) in military aid to Ukraine.
Washington said its latest package includes anti-ship missile launchers, howitzers and more rounds for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that US forces are training Ukrainian servicemen on now.
The aid is the largest single tranche of arms and equipment since Moscow’s full-scale invasion began in late February.
On Thursday, as French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi visited the Ukrainian capital, the Kremlin warned against new Western weapons supplies to its enemy.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I would like to hope that the leaders of these three states and the president of Romania will not only focus on supporting Ukraine by further pumping Ukraine with weapons.”
He added that such efforts would be “absolutely useless and will cause further damage to the country”.
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