Gen. David Petraeus explains how Ukraine keeps picking off Russian generals

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"Russia is suffering troop losses and has been unable to take Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv as of yet, but the Russians are expanding their attacks," trying to break out of their current stalemate, CNN's Jake Tapper said Sunday. "What is going wrong for the Russians?" he asked David Petraeus, the retired four-star general and former CIA director. "Well, an awful lot, actually," Petraeus said. "It's a stalemate, but we should note it's a bloody stalemate," not a truce.

"The Ukrainians say they have killed five Russian generals in Ukraine," Tapper said, noting that "CNN has not independently confirmed that" but the U.S. lost only one general over the entire Afghanistan War, and that was from an inside attack. "It's very, very uncommon" for U.S. generals to die in battle, Petraeus agreed, and "this is in the first three weeks, and these are quite senior generals."

"The bottom line is that their command and control has broken down, their communications have been jammed by the Ukrainians, their secure coms didn't work, they had to go to single channel," then cellphones, then stolen cellphones, Petraeus explained. "So what happens is the column gets stopped, an impatient general is sitting back there in his armored —or whatever — vehicle, he goes forward to find out what's going on because there's no initiative" among junior officers, "he gets up there, and the Ukrainians have very, very good snipers, and they've just been picking them off, left and right. And at least four of these five are absolutely confirmed, and I think the fifth we'll hear today."

Petraeus also gave a broader overview of the Ukrainian war, including the strategic importance of Mariupol, Odessa, and ultimately Kyiv for both Ukraine and Russia. Mariupol "is the first place where the Russians are having to do no-kidding urban fighting," at great cost, he said. And how long the besieged Ukrainians can hold out is "very important," because "if they do surrender, these forces will be freed to go back up" to try and capture Kyiv or join other key battles.

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