Putin Created ‘Reality’ of Conflict With West After Long-Held Fears: Former General
Putin has essentially ended up creating a proxy war with the West, a former US army general said. Putin’s long-held “fear” of a conflict with the West “encouraged” him to invade Ukraine, he said. “And it backfired. It failed,” retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan told Insider. Loading Something is loading.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin was so worried about a conflict with the West that he essentially ended up creating one through his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, a former US Army general said.
Putin, who first ascended to the presidency in 1999, has long had a “fear” of a “coming war with the West” and this concern “encouraged” him to “start that war in a battle that he thought he could win it.” “Retired US Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan told Insider on Wednesday, referring to the war in Ukraine.
“Putin believed that war with the West was inevitable,” Ryan said. “He saw NATO moving into countries in the former Warsaw Pact regions. He saw Ukraine, in particular, choosing the West over Russia … He saw that Russia saw Ukraine in its pocket not in it really the Russia he thought it should be.”
Almost 10 months ago, Putin chose to go to war in Ukraine in part with the idea that NATO and the US would in turn be “fearful” of Russia after it quickly achieved victory over the Eastern European country as planned, he said.
“And it backfired. It failed,” said Ryan, who served as the defense attache to Russia for the US. “There was a miscalculation by the Russians.”
“Putin’s fear of encroachment by the West led him to choose Ukraine as a place to start to fight against that, and he and his military were not prepared for that fight,” he said.
Kremlin forces, Ryan said, “have been fighting to stay afloat the whole time.”
Putin suffered a major setback in the early days of the war when Russian troops – vastly outnumbered and outnumbered by Ukraine’s army – failed to capture the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.
Ukraine, aided by the US and the West with billions of dollars worth of weapons and equipment, has managed to fend off Moscow’s aggression and even successfully launched a stunning counter-offensive last year, forcing Russian troops to give up large swaths of territory. of the occupied territory.
As winter set in, the pace of progress slowed. Next year will be a “major” year for the war, Ryan previously told Insider, warning that the Kremlin is likely to turn to the dire option of nuclear weapons if Moscow faces defeat in the conflict.
That’s not to say Russia hasn’t seen some success in Ukraine, where it has crippled much of the country’s energy infrastructure and seized “a lot more” land along the Black Sea coast, Ryan noted.
But Putin “didn’t get what he wanted,” he said. “He hoped to absorb Ukraine the way he absorbed Crimea in 2014.”
“But that was a gross miscalculation,” Ryan said.
Ukraine has mounted a tough defense, supported by a steady flow of Western weapons and equipment, which now includes armored vehicles and may soon include tanks. With his attack on Ukraine, Putin has essentially “created this reality of war with the West,” he said. “He is fighting us through the invasion of Ukraine.”
“The Russian leadership believes it is at war with the West, that the West wants to destroy them,” the former general said.
The West, according to Ryan, initially didn’t seem to think it would be in a proxy war with Russia, but since the start of the invasion, “we’re coming to understand that we’re in this war too, even if our soldiers aren’t dying there”.
In addition to supplying Ukraine with weapons and equipment, Western countries have hit Russia with heavy economic sanctions as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine, crippling its economy.
“One thing [the West] should do — which it may already be doing — should stop debating every new class of weapons it gives to Ukraine, and should instead look at Ukraine as the front line of this war,” Ryan said. “He has to assume that the Ukrainians are on our side and they are fighting this battle for us now.”
Ryan, a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, warned that the West should try to “outpace” Russia by preparing and strengthening its armies and examining production rates for “key weapons and munitions.”
“If you’re not facing this war, if you’re not ready for it, and then the war happens, it costs more lives and money than it would otherwise,” he said.