As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reaches the one month mark, one expert says it is already obvious that President Vladimir Putin is “struggling” and will fail in his attempt to seize the nation.
Kurt Volker, former US ambassador to NATO and Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, appeared on ABC News Mornings where he explained why Russia is “bogged down” and showing signs of failure.
“When you look at the numbers, you look at the fact that the Russian forces haven't taken any major cities at this point,” Mr Volker told ABC’s Joe O’Brien.
“They are still bombing them but they are unable to advance. The convoys of vehicles that have been there for weeks now, it has been four weeks. They are still not advancing.”
Mr Volker said NATO reports the number of Russian casualties to be between 10,000 and 15,000.
“Typical estimators say if that is the number killed, multiply that by three to figure out the number of wounded. This is 20-25 per cent of Russia's full invasion force. This is an astonishing level of damage to the Russian forces that have invaded to this point.”
Despite harrowing images depicting crumbling buildings and the lifeless bodies of Ukrainian civilians, Mr Volker believes “in the end” Putin will fail, as he doesn’t have the forces to take over Ukraine and hold it.
“I don't see that Russia comes out of this winning and I do see that Ukraine comes out of this as an independent state which means a failure for Putin's efforts here, therefore, we should be doing everything we can to end this quickly by helping Ukrainians push back on the Russians as effectively as possible.”
Western countries “too concerned” about Putin retaliating
Western nations have continued to impose sanctions against Russia to disrupt its economy and further isolate the country, a move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked leaders for on Thursday night.
Speaking to 27 EU leaders on a video call, he said while he appreciated the sanctions, they came too late to prevent Putin from invading on February 24.
Mr Volker said more must be done to help end the war quickly, and believes Putin is “concerned” about the prospect of NATO becoming involved.
“I think they [western countries] are too concerned about the risk of escalation by being directly into some confrontation with Russia, whether Russia would treat such steps as aggressive acts and declare war on NATO itself. They are underestimating the degree to which Putin is concerned about drawing NATO into the war,” he said.
“The war is not going well for Russia. They are bogged down on the ground. They have had stunning losses of personnel, equipment and they are eventually going to have to look for a way out of this. We should be pouring on the support for Ukraine right now, helping to end this war quickly by giving the Ukraine everything that it can use.”
Signs that Russia’s forces are ‘weakening’
When asked by O’Brien if Russia had “significant” fire power still to come, Mr Volker said it’s not the case and believes Putin would’ve put their “best forces forward” at the start of the war.
Earlier this week, the defence ministry in Moscow reported a Russian hypersonic missile had destroyed an underground arms depot in western Ukraine.
Putin has repeatedly mentioned his country’s investment in the weapons, which can reportedly hit a target up to 2000km away.
But Mr Volker said the fact that a hypersonic missile was used is a telling sign that forces on the ground are falling short.
“The reason they are using long range attacks is the ground forces haven't been able to advance,” he said.
“When they bring new forces that aren't as well-trained, reservists, and try and put them into existing units, they don't have the shared experience and training together. They don't have the same level of skills or experience. You end up reconstituting a weaker force than what they started with. These are bad signs for the Russian military at the moment.”
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