Vladimir Putin‘s “ponderous army” has been brutally mocked after he was warned Russians have “zero stomach for joining” the fight in the war with Ukraine. Russia has suffered significant losses over recent weeks and has been driven backwards in the conflict by heroic counter-offences from Ukrainian forces. Thousands of Russians have also been seen rushing for the borders and attempting to flee the country as the rebellion against the war with Ukraine picks up pace.
This was even more evident when Putin used a public address to the nation last month to announce a partial mobilisation of reservists in Russia and the need for 300,000 new troops to join his war in Ukraine.
Retired US Army Officer Ben Hodges, who served as Commanding General in the US Army Europe, has torn apart the partial mobilisation plan, warning it will “turn out to be another in a long list of strategic mistakes by the Kremlin”.
He added the dramatic images of hundreds of thousands of men fleeing Russia to avoid being drafted show the population has “zero stomach for joining the Russian Army to fight in Ukraine”.
Lieutenant General Hodges told Express.co.uk: “Not only will Putin’s partial mobilisation turn out to be another in a long list of strategic mistakes by the Kremlin, but also the way it was rolled out.
“You would think something so big and as important as that would be skilfully deployed. Yet Putin’s message was incoherent, the numbers have been conflicting and the execution of it has been terrible.
“We have seen pictures and videos of what these guys have waiting for them. Then the image of half-a-million military males leaving Russia by car, foot or aeroplane to avoid it.
“That demonstrates the Russian population has zero stomach for joining the Russian Army to fight in Ukraine.”
The former US Army officer also took at Russia’s “logistics system”, claiming it is “totally exhausted completely incapable of sustaining large-scale land operations”.
He continued: “Secondly, the inability or even unwillingness to conduct what we would call joint operations where you integrate the effect of the navy, army, air force, special forces.
“I don’t think there has been a single day since February 24 where they have integrated their capabilities.
“Everyone is doing their own thing, and this is a reflection of the culture within the services but also a real lack of high-level, high-scale operational experience and exercises.”
Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired British Army officer who served for nearly 30 years until 2006, warned Russia is in “big trouble”, with Putin’s troops appearing not to be able to resist the “serious advances” from Ukraine.
He hit out at the “botched mobilisation from the Russian President”, claiming it is adding to the growing discontent in the Russian ranks.
The British Army veteran told Express.co.uk: “Russia is in big trouble because Ukraine has been making serious advances in both the northeast and in the south.
“Russia does not seem to be capable and have enough troops to resist Ukraine’s advances at present.
“When you combine this with the botched mobilisation, you are seeing much greater discontent there as a result of what is happening on the battlefield and also at home.
“Putin has a very big problem on his hands which probably won’t be remedied immediately by the mobilisation he is making.
“Those forces won’t be deployed quickly enough or in a good enough state to make a big difference.”