December 18, 2022
A retired U.S. Army general believes Russian President Vladimir Putin has already effectively lost the war in Ukraine, at least from a strategic perspective.
Barry R. McCaffrey is a former four-star general, who served in the U.S. military from 1964 to 1996. After his service ended, he took on a position in the Cabinet of former President Bill Clinton and now makes frequent appearances as an analyst for MSNBC and NBC News.
McCaffrey appeared on MSNBC on Friday to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine, with host Nicolle Wallace noting that his past predictions about Russia’s successes and failures have largely been accurate. When pressed about his take on reports that Russia is gearing up for a renewed offensive early next year, the former general said it would make sense from an increasingly “desperate” Russia, but also opined that they have already lost the war at a strategic level.
“I think it’ll be something they try. They’re desperate. Strategically, I think they’ve already lost the war,” McCaffrey said. “Operationally they’re not able to deal essentially with a very active, aggressive Ukrainian military force. So now they’ve defaulted to a position where they are going to destroy much of the civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, but I cannot see them regaining the initiative to seize Odesa or try to seize Kharkiv. I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
He continued: “These people have lost too much equipment, too many people, and they haven’t learned from their mistakes. Their logistics are a mess. Their manufacturing base can’t keep up with the war they are fighting. As long as the west stays with Ukraine, which I think is going to happen.”
The question posed to McCaffrey on Friday was based on a recent briefing from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, in which he warned that Russia could be preparing for a renewed military offensive within the first few months of 2023. Kuleba also stressed that this hunch was not a certainty, but that the war-torn country was also preparing to counteract such a scenario, nevertheless.
“I think the Russian ability to launch a major offensive will probably be restored sometime in late January or February,” Kuleba said. “But that’s what they’re trying to do and what we’re trying to prevent. That is, I am not saying that it will definitely happen. But in the best-case scenario, taking into account the mobilization, the conscription that they announced, the training of new conscripts and the movement of their heavy weapons around the country—they clearly hold out hope that they will be able to break through our defenses and advance deeper into Ukraine.”
Putin launched his “special military operation” on Ukraine in late February, hoping for a quick victory, but was blunted by Kyiv’s spirited defense and bolstered by Western aid. The Russian leader’s troops have struggled to achieve substantial goals in Ukraine, turning to recent attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure ahead of winter. (Newsweek)