Putin tipped to lose all Ukraine gains since 2014 by next summer

Russian host blames TV show 'Friends' for decline in the West

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Ben Hodges, who served as commanding general of the United States Army in Europe, has predicted that Ukraine will eventually roll back all of Russia’s military gains since 2014, including liberating Crimea. Vladimir Putin is desperate to cling onto the territory in southern and eastern Ukraine which Russian forces have managed to grab but are now struggling to hold as Kyiv mounts renewed offensives powered by western weaponry. 

The retired general told TimesRadio: “I believe that Ukraine will have liberated Crimea by the summer and I believe that because we’ve talked about who has the superior will? The Ukrainian soldiers and Ukrainian people compared to the Russians.

“The logistics situation for Russia is terrible you know, the Kersh bridge being damaged, the Russians now are trying to improve the route that runs along past Mariupol in order to resupply their forces in the southern part of Ukraine.

“Their logistics system was already weak I would say exhausted even before this, and now they’re adding a couple 100,000 of troops that are just going to be another burden.

“And Ukrainians have wisely targeted the logistics system for months now, whereas the Ukrainian system gets better with each passing week. Still some real shortfalls in terms of weapons and ammunition and, what we would call this is kind of tedious, but it’s really important, the maintenance necessary for all of these different weapons systems right now.

 

“I believe that Ukraine will have liberated Crimea by the summer and I believe that because we’ve talked about who has the superior will? The Ukrainian soldiers and Ukrainian people.”

“Many of them have to be taken all the way back to Poland or Lithuania or Germany to be repaired. We ought to find a way to help Ukraine have what we would call second and third-level maintenance inside Ukraine to return equipment more quickly to the front.

“But if you think about the HIMARS, what’s happening now the offensives that are moving from Kherson and I think Kherson is probably going to fall in next three, four weeks.

“And then the other wing of the counter-offensive that’s coming down south towards Donetsk.

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“Both of these are headed towards Crimea. So we would say all roads lead towards Crimea, and once they get HIMARS in range of the Russian bases inside Crimea, then I think it’s just math after that.”

It comes after another military analyst, Cedric Leighton belittled Russian attempts to destroy Ukraine’s national grid with punitive drones.

The retired US Air Force colonel argued that Ukraine’s will to resist Putin is likely to outlast the Kremlin’s ability to replace used-up missiles, branding Russia’s latest strategy to win the war as futile. 

Mr Leighton told CNN: “You’re looking at who can run out the clock the fastest in other words who can really run out their supplies. 

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“I think what you’re looking at is the possibility at least, that Russia is going to expend its missiles, especially the type of cruise missiles, these are air launch cruise missiles that they’ve used in these particular attacks.

“I think they’ll be able to do this in a fairly concerted fashion, they’ll need some help to do it but it’s going to be something where they will beat the clock in terms of whether or not Putin will run this or not.

“But it is certainly a case where the Russians are going to be spending a lot of money and a lot of weapons in a perhaps futile effort to coerce the Ukrainians.”

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