Russia: Vladimir Putin addresses rally in Moscow

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Russia will lose the war against Ukraine, possibly by the end of this year, the former head of the United States Army in Europe has told the Daily Express. Speaking from Frankfurt ahead of Friday’s year-long anniversary of the conflict, retired General Ben Hodges predicted that 2023 may well conclude in ignominious – and politically catastrophic – defeat for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Absolutely I can see Russia losing this war. They are going to lose. This new offensive is going to culminate where the attacking forces run out of impetus, there is a loss of will and growing logistical problems. And that’s going to happen by late Spring. You have to remember Russia is already running out of supplies of ammunition,” Gen Hodges said.

“And the Russian military leaders now all hate each other and are barking at one another, which does not create a platform for a command structure.”

The seasoned ex-commander said the latest Russian recruits being sent to the frontline for a new offensive were ‘undertrained and underprepared” and were being “sent to the meat grinder”.

And Gen Hodges added: “I see no other outcome but a Russian defeat.

“It’s too early to plan a victory parade in Kyiv but all the momentum is with Ukraine now and there is no doubt in my mind that they will win this war, probably in 2023.

“I predict President Putin will next lose the Battle of Crimea, the decisive phase of the Campaign, in the coming Summer. And then he loses the coming internal Battle of the Kremlin before the end of the year.”

But he stressed: “We must not be scared of Ukraine winning. Once Ukraine has bridged Crimea, which is possible this year, I think there will be some significant changes in Russia.”

The view of Putin’s imminent demise was shared by a number of other world experts on Russian military affairs who spoke to the paper on today’s year-long anniversary of the invasion.

The former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove agreed that the leader of Russia is now extremely vulnerable as the conflict goes from bad to worse.

“This is a conflict that Putin politically in Russia cannot afford to lose,” he said.

“So, if he does lose, and I think one would have to reflect on what loss means in this particular case, then I think his political future is probably over, finished.”

Ex-MI6 chief Sir Richard also said he is in no doubt that the Russian President is unwell.

“My view is there is still something wrong with him, medically,” he said.

“I’m not a clinician, but I know a number of people have watched him closely, and they think the most likely explanation is Parkinson’s.

“There’s no proof – but he shows quite a lot of the symptoms. If he does have Parkinson’s, that can certainly impair your judgement.

“The two favourite medical diagnoses through observing him is either Parkinson’s or blood cancer, or maybe both.

“But the Russians will be desperate to make sure Putin’s health is a state secret.”

Matthew J. Schmidt, Associate Professor of National Security at the University of New Haven, told the Express Ukraine can win the war by training large-scale units of 500-plus soldiers in Combined Arms Manoeuvres which use several elements of combat power including infantry, artillery, air attacks, drones, armour, and psychological tactics.

He said: “This is essential to wearing out Russian combat effectiveness and wearing down troop morale.”

Professor John R. Bryson, at the University of Birmingham, said Russian President Vladimir Putin has already failed.

He said: “Putin has no future in Russia. His contribution to Russia’s history will no longer be constructed around a narrative of great leadership.

Instead, he will be known as the Russian leader who instigated an unnecessary conflict that destroyed the life chances of Russian citizens and transformed Russia from superpower to declining nation.”

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