Russian President Vladimir Putin would need to send 600,000 more troops to Ukraine to secure victory, NATO’s former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe has claimed.
Sir James Everard also warned that the tyrant may turn to nuclear weapons to level the playing field.
Discussing Putin’s need to “significantly escalate” his forces with The Sun, Sir James quoted a Telegram statement from the Wagner group – mercenaries allegedly with close ties to the Russian state – which said Moscow needs to send “600,000 to 800,000 men” for the “total defeat of Ukraine”.
Sir James told the publication: “He is in a terrible place. It was entirely of his own making.
“I can’t see him achieving his objectives without escalating conventionally.”
Following the news that the US is backing Ukraine with a $33billion (£26.7bn) finance and military aid package, Sir James also warned that Putin may look to go nuclear.
He explained that the Russian nuclear arsenal differs from the UK’s in that Putin has an array of small and big weapons, whereas we only have the “city destroyers”.
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The opportunity to use smaller nukes means “perhaps for Putin, nuclear escalation isn’t as big as we see it to be”, according to Sir James.
The former NATO commander also said that, if Putin doesn’t secure a victory in Ukraine soon, he faces being ousted by his generals and could make him ready to escalate his current efforts.
Putin has been no stranger to threatening nuclear war since he launched his “special military operation” back in February.
On the night when Russian forces first crossed the Ukraine border and bombs started to hit Kyiv, he warned that Russia would “react instantly” to foreign nations if they interfered.
The West was told to expect “consequences they have never seen” if they attempted to thwart his plans.