Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Doug Lute favors Ukraine’s odds vs. Russian invaders of their country he said Sunday.
Lt. Gen. Doug Lute (USA-Ret.) told Martha Raddatz Russians will mostly fail like they did in their initial attack on Kyiv.
Raddatz, hosting the ABC show “This Week,” conducted a wide-ranging talk about Ukraine in light of an announced visit by U.S. officials.
She earlier asked a Ukrainian Parliament member what the country wanted from the announced visit of Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin III, and Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. “How significant is it?” Raddatz asked Yevheniia Kravchuk.
“America is clearly the leader of free world and — of course — we expect three main things with our close ally and close partner, which is the United States,” the Parliament member said. He stated Ukraine expects the U.S. to provide more heavy weapons, Russian sanctions and financial aid.
The network host asked Kravchuk if they receive all the heavy weapons they ask for, can Ukraine prevent Russia from taking the Donbass region.
Kravchuk declared his country is capable of winning and kicking Russians out because that is what it will take to end this war.
Raddatz asked Lute if the Russians can really capture the rest of the Donbass after fighting so poorly for the capitol city, Kyiv. The retired army officer does not believe so.
“You can’t reform an army in a matter of a couple of weeks,” he noted. “This is the same Russian army, so I expect many of the same failures.”
He agreed the Russians will have shorter supply lines in their new phase of attacks since they already control part of Donbass. The former NATO representative acknowledged they won’t have the same long, exposed supply lines that were vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks.
“So, that’s an advantage in phase two for the Russians,” Lute agreed, “but if they’re still fighting on Ukrainian territory, and I give the qualitative edge — the moral factors — the plus to the Ukrainians.”
“The Ukrainians are fighting for their lives, they’re fighting for their own country and the Russians can’t match that.”
Raddatz questioned if news this week of an additional $800 million U.S. package with more heavy artillery and tactical drones can make a real difference.
“That can make a real difference because this begins to close the quantitative gap between the Ukrainians and the Russians,” he replied. “In fact, some estimates are now that the Ukrainians have as many tanks on the battlefield as the Russians.”
He explained that even with the land bridge now connecting the Russian Federation with Crimea, there is a difference between capturing territory and holding it. He added that, even though he believes Kyiv is off the table for now, Russian President Vladimir Putin is searching for opportunities. The retired general said Putin would love to restore the old boundaries of the U.S.S.R. but cannot.
“There’s a big gap here between his aims and his means,” explained Lute.
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