Former CIA Director and retired Gen. David Petraeus said the war in Ukraine “looks very dire indeed for [Russian President] Vladimir Putin” in that Ukraine has outmaneuvered Russia throughout the conflict.
Petraeus told radio talk show host John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” on WABC 770 AM that Putin has found himself in an “irreversibly desperate” situation. He said Ukraine has been much more successful than Russia in mobilizing its capabilities.
He said that has led to Ukraine’s major counteroffensive, which has seen it retake thousands of square kilometers of its territory in the past month, and to Russia being on the defensive.
“At the end of the day, the situation looks very dire indeed for Vladimir Putin,” he said.
Petraeus said Putin’s recent moves to regain momentum, including calling up 300,000 reservists to replace depleted Russian forces, will not be enough to change the tide of the war.
“This is not going to produce well-trained, well-equipped, cohesive troops and units,” he said. “It’s going to produce cannon fodder.”
He said the international community should take seriously Putin’s threats to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine to protect Russian territory, including the four Russian-held regions of Ukraine that Putin annexed on Friday.
Putin said more than 90 percent of voters in all four regions — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — voted to be annexed by Russia, but much of the international community has denounced the referendums, which were orchestrated by Moscow and overseen by armed Russian soldiers, as neither free nor fair.
Petraeus said Putin’s threats should be taken seriously, but he expects they will prove to be “empty.”
“The United States national security adviser publicly has said that he has communicated, our government has communicated, with the Russian government that the response to any use of nuclear weapons would be catastrophic in nature to them,” he said.
Petraeus said Putin’s efforts to “make Russia great again” have backfired, making NATO “great again” with two countries that have traditionally remained neutral, Sweden and Finland, soon to be joining the alliance.
He said the damage Putin has done to Russia is ironic because he had disdain for former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“Yet here he is doing equal damage if not greater damage to the Russian Federation,” Petraeus said.
Petraeus said in March, soon after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, that he did not think Putin could win the war due to a lack of sufficient troops and fierce Ukrainian resistance.