Vladimir Putin could be running out of missiles and armaments because of how much his forces have had to fire during the Ukraine war so far, according to the head of Britain’s Armed Forces.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said Russia has now lost 25 per cent of all its forces in Ukraine and is still “struggling” to get any momentum in its new offensive in the Donbas region, he said in an interview with TalkTV’s The News Desk program.
“Putin potentially has a problem, because the rate of expenditure and the toughness of the fight is totally different to the one that he perceived on the 24th of February.
“I think there are several wars going on. There’s a tactical, geographical war going on in Ukraine. There’s a logistics war going on, in terms of how do you maintain that rate of expenditure. But I don’t want to say what our analysis is of where we are in those.”
“We’re talking severe impact on their armed forces. We’ve had 25 per cent of their forces effectively being taken out – either through people being killed, or through the damage to their battalion tactical groups.”
On the battle for the Donbas, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said that Russia is “struggling to get the momentum” and that there’s been a “severe impact on their armed forces”.
“It’s possible” Russian forces could encircle Ukraine’s in the decisive battle for the Donbas that is raging now, and “there are real risks that Russia could gain some ground. But you’re also seeing on a daily basis, Russia struggling to get the momentum, struggling to align its air forces with its land forces, and struggling to get what we call a modern campaign which creates that momentum.
“I think it’s really hard to make those improvements in the short space of time between their defeat around the cities,” he said.
Admiral Sir Tony Radakin added Putin is under “incredible pressure” to pull off a victory in the Donbas region to declare to the Russian people and he has “a hard slog” ahead to do it:
“You’re seeing the tactical fight, where Putin is trying to rush to a tactical victory, and then he’ll push that with his own people”.Admiral Sir Tony Radakin
“I think what we’re now seeing is incredible pressure – political pressure and military pressure – for a victory. And I think we’ve got to wait and see whether or not doing that in such a rushed manner against a Ukrainian armed forces that are fighting for their country, and a Ukrainian armed forces that we’re proud to be saying that we’re supporting.”
“And that should give all of us encouragement about how this is going to be a tough fight. And it’s going to carry on being a tough fight. This is going to be a hard slog.
On Putin’s ambitions, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said “his ambitions remain the same as they were on the 24th of February. It was always to take the whole of Ukraine”:
“His ambitions remain the same as they were on the 24th of February. It was always to take the whole of Ukraine, to put it under different leadership, and then he’s the master of all he surveys. He’s failed in that.
“Even if Putin was to take the Donbas, even if he was to have a stronger control of the south, the Ukrainian people are never going to fall under Russia. They have shifted to the west, and he’s made NATO stronger.”Admiral Sir Tony Radakin
Victory Day in Russia
On rumours that Putin is to parade two British prisoners of war in Red Square during Victory Day on Monday, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said: “We’ve got no evidence that we anticipate something like that is the first point.”
“The second point would be it would just follow on with the sort of disgracefulness that we’ve seen in this campaign. And I mean, the shocking way that Russia has prosecuted this campaign in a much bigger way than parading prisoners of war, is the way that they’ve committed war crimes, is the way that they’ve adopted the tactics of Chechnya and Syria, to rubble-ise cities.”
“I urge him not to, but the correct thing for Russia to do is to bring this war to an end, to acknowledge that actually, what it needs is a ceasefire, what it needs is to withdraw and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty,” Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said during the TalkTV interview.
Worries at home
Admiral Sir Tony revealed his worries about the effect that rising inflation will have on the defence budget, and warned it could lead to fresh defence cuts.
Plus, CDS confirmed that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had written a controversial letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to warn him that Britain would drop below its NATO minimum target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence if the MoD did not get a budget uplift.
“I think like everybody, we’re worried about the impact of inflation. That’s a personal worry. That’s a professional worry.”
“And then there’s a departmental worry. How do we manage that, in an inflationary era? Do you try and bring some of that spending forward? Do you try and spend your money more quickly? Does that mean that you prioritise some areas because they’re more important than others?”
Following reports that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace sounded the alarm over a real-terms cut in security spending as a result of inflation in a letter to Rishi Sunak, TalkTV’s Tom Newton Dunn asked if he knew Ben Wallace did that.
“Yes. We’re a big spending department, and we have regular conversations at all levels with the Treasury. The Defence Secretary writing to the Chancellor to say this is our view of where defence spending is going, I think is pretty normal business.”
“Are we involved in the same conversations? And do I support the Defence Secretary as the head of a big spending department writing to a fellow Cabinet minister, such as the Chancellor? And is that normal? Absolutely.”Admiral Sir Tony Radakin
“At the moment, under this spending review, we’re above 2% through the whole period. And then it starts to peter off, I think in 2024/25″.
He added: “And then that’s the subject of another spending review. At the moment the trajectory is going up, and then it gets really close staying above 2 per cent. Then that needs to be a fresher conversation, because the ambition of this government is to stay above 2 per cent.”