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- The head of the UK’s armed forces said on Wednesday that Russia is losing in Ukraine.
- Admiral Sir Tony Radakin also said the war will only get worse for Russia.
- “Russia faces a critical shortage of artillery munitions,” Radakin said.
The head of the UK’s armed forces says Russia is losing in Ukraine, offering a blunt assessment of the state of the war as Moscow’s unprovoked invasion creeps toward its 10-month mark.
“Russia is losing” and the “free world is winning,” Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the United Kingdom’s chief of defense staff, said Wednesday during a speech at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London.
Radakin ripped into Russia over the invasion, which he decried as tragic, dangerous, illegal, and unjustified. But Radakin underscored that Moscow is failing in the war, adding that “it will only get worse for Russia.”
Russia is estimated to have suffered roughly 100,000 casualties in the war so far, an astonishing number in less than a year of fighting. On top of manpower issues, which Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to address via a partial military mobilization that did not go well, Russian forces are also running low on proper equipment and ammunition.
“Let me tell Putin tonight what his own generals and ministers are probably too afraid to say: that Russia faces a critical shortage of artillery munitions,” Radakin said, explaining that this means “their ability to conduct successful offensive ground operations is rapidly diminishing.”
Putin planned for a quick war, but “Russian guns have now been firing for almost 300 days” and “the cupboard is bare,” Radakin went on to say, echoing US officials who have pointed out that Russia is running through its munitions faster than it can replenish them.
Russia has lost much of the territory that it managed to occupy in the early days of the invasion. A Ukrainian counteroffensive that began in recent months has seen Russia’s military lose ground, including in territories that Putin illegally annexed in September. In November, Russian forces retreated from Kherson — the first major Ukrainian city that Russia captured.
“Russia has failed – and will continue to fail – in all its war aims. Russia is diminished on the world stage,” Radakin said. The war saw Russia increasingly isolated, condemned in the UN, and booted from the UN Human Rights Council. Russia has also been widely accused of war crimes.
The top UK admiral credited Ukraine’s “ingenuity, courage and determination of Ukraine” for Russia’s failures in the conflict, as well as the coalition that’s formed to support Kyiv and punish Moscow over the war.
Russia’s war in Ukraine pushed a number of countries to abandon longstanding stances of neutrality. Finland and Sweden, who have historically been militarily non-aligned, moved to join NATO as a result of the invasion. Germany provided weapons to Ukraine, breaking from a historic policy of not sending arms to conflict zones.
“Despite Putin’s best efforts to divide, he has unintentionally assembled an extraordinary coalition of democracies against him. It’s as if he has illuminated what our beliefs really mean and entail. The importance of aggression being defeated. The need to abide by international rules, ” Radakin said, adding that Russia was “ill prepared” for the economic response to the invasion. Western countries have slapped crippling economic sanctions on Russia, and in November, Russia’s economy entered a recession.
“Morally, conceptually and physically, Putin’s forces are running low,” Radakin said, urging the Russian leader to act now and withdraw his forces to save Russian and Ukrainian lives. Russia, however, recently rejected a call from Ukrainian leadership to withdraw its forces, signaling that fighting will continue.