VLAD’S END GAME Adrian ZorzutNatasha Clark17:40, 9 May 2022Updated: 17:50, 9 May 2022VLADIMIR Putin could escalate the war in Ukraine by sending in 600,000 troops and may decide to launch a tactical nuclear strike, a former NATO commander has warned.
Sir James Everard, who served as NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said the only way out for Putin now was to “significantly escalate” his forces in Ukraine or send in the nukes.
Sir James said using nukes would be a ‘grand strategic failure’ on Russia’s partCredit: Dan Charity – The Sun
Speaking with The Sun Online, the commander said war-hungry Vlad – who had been expected to announce all-out war against Ukraine at today’s Victory Day parade – was now “in trouble”.
Sir James warned said Putin faces being toppled by his generals if he didn’t secure a solid victory in Ukraine soon.
“He is in a terrible place. It was entirely of his own making,” Sir James said.
“I can’t see him achieving his objectives without escalating conventionally.”
The former supreme commander quoted reports regarding the Wanger company’s latest Telegram post – a mercenary group alleged to be heavily involved in the conflict and known to have close ties to the Russian state – claiming Moscow would need to mobilise “600,000 to 800,000 men” for the “total defeat of Ukraine”.
The anonymous author did not say how he came to that figure but it’s being touted as a decent illustration of the scale of the challenge Putin is facing in Ukraine.
Sir James also warned that the increasingly isolated autocrat may use nukes to level the playing field after Kyiv was able to secure a $33billion finance and military aid package from the US that experts have claimed could turn the tide in Ukraine’s favour.
“Applying human logic to the problem, it would seem to be a crazy thing to do,” Sir James said on the use of nukes by Russia.
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“I think it would represent a grand strategic failure and I cannot believe the supporters he has around the world wouldn’t melt away. It would mean more isolation.
“But, you know, as some have said, it’s an ‘existential threat’ [for Russia]. Existential is a hard end, isn’t it?”
He added: “Where Putin has an advantage over the West is that he has a family of nuclear weapons. From the very small to the big city destroyers.
“In the UK, we have the city destroyers, but not the small ones.
“Perhaps for Putin, nuclear escalation isn’t as big as we see it to be.
“I still think it would be horrific.”
Russia has been feared to potentially use a tactical nuclear strike in Ukraine using a lower yield nuclear weapon in an effort to break the deadlock.
And the Russian tyrant has repeatedly raised the spectre of nuclear weapons over the devastating conflict in Ukraine.
Moscow had expected Kyiv to capitulate within days when it first launched its invasion at the end of February.
Russian forces have instead found themselves bogged down in a slow grinding war against Ukraine – even now being pushed back after initially pushing forward towards the capital in hopes of a blitzkrieg-style win.
And with Ukraine now a quagmire of damaged cities and burnt out Russian vehicles, all eyes are now on what Putin will try to do next to win his vicious war and secure his power.
It comes as UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace issued a chilling warning that Russia may revert to more brutal tactics if it doesn’t start winning on the battlefield.
Speaking a conference on the future of European security, Mr Wallace said Putin still had one sick trick in his “back pocket” that he said everyone should be concerned about.
He said the ailing despot could unleash a wave of brutality on Ukrainians that could involve rape, bombings and a murder blitz.
“If you win your war by killing, murdering, raping, bombing civilians, breaching all human rights, corruption and that becomes the battle winning components, the message that sends is incredibly dangerous,” he said.
“You don’t need training, kit, rule of law, you just need more brutality and be prepared to destroy everything in your path.
Vladimir Putin could order a nuke strike to defeat Ukraine, an ex-NATO commander warnedCredit: Central European News
Russian mercenary group the Wagner Company claimed Moscow needed between 600,000 and 800,000 troops for the ‘total defeat of Ukraine’Credit: Reuters
Putin can’t win in Ukraine ‘without escalating conventionally’, ex-Commando Sir James Everard warnedCredit: Alamy
“That is still the untested component. They are not interested in occupying Mariupol – they’ve destroyed it, that’s why it matters.”
He added: “If Putin is successful in Ukraine then watch out.”
Those tactics may very well already be in force following devastating reports of Ukrainian women being raped and killed by invading Russian soldiers.
The mum of a Ukrainian woman claims her daughter was brutally raped and murdered by Russian forces in a harrowing interview.
The body of the “beautiful” Karina Yershova, 22, was discovered mercilessly dumped in a garden in war-crime ravaged Bucha.
Her mutilated corpse was found with “tears” and “wounds”, while all her nails – apart from one – had been torn off.
Police told her family that Karina had been murdered and tortured – but didn’t disclose all the details as they were “so horrific”.
The 22-year-old was allegedly raped, shot in the back of the head and discarded in a backyard by Putin’s vile henchmen.
Putin today oversaw a meagre military parade – where the ayling tyrant at times looked frail, including at one point sitting huddled with a blanket.
Vlad had been expected to declare an escalation in the Ukraine war today as Russia celebrated the World War 2 defeat of Nazi Germany – but it did not appear.
The 69-year-old leader instead trotted out his usual buzz phrases decrying the West and attempting to justify his vicious in invasion by claiming Ukraine had been overrun by Nazis.