- A former US ambassador to NATO has said Russia cannot afford to seize the Ukrainian capital of kyiv.
- Russia began a new phase of its attack on Ukraine last week, focusing on the eastern region of Donbass.
- The same Russian “deficits” seen in kyiv could be found in the Donbass region, the former ambassador said.
Former US ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute said he believed Russia lacked the capability to seize the Ukrainian capital of kyiv.
Speaking on ABC News “This Week” on Sunday, Lute shared his thoughts on Russia’s ability to take control of kyiv, after host Martha Raddatz asked if Russian forces had “given up” on their seize the target, one of his main objectives since the invasion. started on February 24.
“I think kyiv is beyond their means,” Lute replied. “They can’t take over kyiv. They can’t replace the Zelenskyy government. I think they’re always looking for opportunities to figure out what their goals are. They kind of make it up as they go. .”
Lute added that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “looking for opportunities” and would “grab the first good one available”.
—This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 24, 2022
Russian forces withdrew from the area around kyiv earlier this month after weeks of war with Ukraine, revealing a dogged defense and a refusal to abandon the city. Ukrainian police say more than 900 bodies have been discovered around kyiv, and many of them appear to be civilians who were “simply executed” by Russian troops.
Russia began a new phase of its attack on Ukraine last week, focusing on the eastern region of Donbass. The United States and other Western nations are supplying additional and heavier weapons to Ukraine, arming the country for what could be months of intense clashes in the region’s flatter and more open terrain, reports Insider’s Christopher Woody.
On Sunday, Lute said some of the same Russian “deficiencies” could be on display again in the Donbass region.
“The problems that the Russian army demonstrated in the first phase of this fight, in kyiv and around, where they failed, the Ukrainians surpassed them. I think the same shortcomings of the Russian army will be at exhibited again in the Donbass,” Lute said. mentioned.
He added: “You can’t reform an army in a few weeks. It’s the same Russian army, so I expect many of the same failures.”
The former ambassador said that while Putin might want to expand Russia’s power and “recreate something like the old Russian empire”, it was “out of his means”.
“There’s a big gap here between his goals and his means,” Lute said. “I don’t think the situation on the battlefield lends itself yet to some sort of diplomatic compromise solution. Both sides still imagine they can win this.”