- Ben Hodges, former US commander of American forces in Europe, said Russian lines are collapsing.
- “It’s an army that’s been defeated,” he told The Times of London.
- Other experts warn that the oncoming winter may limit the advances the military can make in the war.
A senior former US general has lauded the successes of the Ukrainian military and has said that Russia could be defeated by Christmas.
Ben Hodges, who served as commanding general of the United States Army Europe until 2018, told The Times that Russian lines are collapsing.
“Based on all the things we are seeing it has the feeling of a collapse, at least in the Donbas area, and I do believe the Russians will be pushed beyond the February 23 line by the end of the year,” with the “line” being the position the Russians were in pre-invasion.
A senior British government source echoed this assessment, according to The Times, and said Putin’s forces would be forced out of the Donbas and back across Russia’s border by the end of the year.
Hodge described the Russian military as “an army that’s been defeated.”
The former commander who led the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan said that the Ukrainian military might be able to recapture Crimea if they are able to retake Kherson, but re-occupying the peninsula will take far longer than a few months.
As winter sets in Ukraine, however, other experts warn that the freezing temperatures may limit the advances the military can make in the war.
Franz-Stefan Gady, a research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told The Times that, “For Ukraine, it is a race against time to seize as much territory as possible before the onset of winter and before better-trained Russian reinforcements, including new units, reach the front line.
“For the Russian side, the first order of business is to conduct orderly tactical withdrawals and delay Ukrainian advances,” he added.
As experts debate when the outcome of the war, with some telling The Times that a Ukrainian victory before 2023 is “impossible,” it is nonetheless clear that the Russian military project is not going to plan, with almost none of Putin’s objectives achieved over eight months into his invasion.
The situation has forced Putin to announce an unpopular draft to compel more people to fight, prompting an exodus of military-age men from his country and undermining his iron grip on power, with even the sycophantic Russian media shining a light on the military failures.