Vladimir Putin’s crumbling Russian army is facing a “decisive rout” and is edging closer to total “collapse”, with morale among troops now completely evaporated, according to a leading British Army officer. General Sir Richard Shirreff, who served as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe for the alliance, also believes Ukrainian forces can succeed in driving back the opposition by the end of this year. Russia unleashed a barrage of missile on several Ukrainian cities on Monday as part of a furious reaction for the bombing of its prized bridge in Crimea.
The death toll has risen to 19 civilians and despite dozens of others being injured in the attacks, Sir Richard is confident Putin’s army is heading for disastrous end.
He told The Sun Online: “I think the scene is being set for a decisive rout of the Russian Army in Ukraine. The scene is setting for a collapse of the Russian army.
“This could be an avalanche, and we are now seeing the cracks in the in the snow. The Ukrainians are creating more problems than the Russians are capable of solving. It’s looking good.”
Successes enjoyed by Ukraine have been compounded by Russian failures, with Putin’s military leaving his troops horrendously underequipped.
Putin has also reportedly been making uninformed decisions at the top the Kremlin about the war with Ukraine and speculation has been swirling he is becoming increasingly isolated in Moscow.
Sir Richard explained: “The [Russian] morale has gone. You’ve got soldiers who simply don’t want to fight – these guys were told they would be welcomed with open arms by cheering crowds and the so-called ‘Ukrainian Nazis’ would collapse.
“But they were met by a ferocious resistance, they are in a country that doesn’t want them there. Why should they die for Putin’s adventure?
“Conceptually the Russians do not understand combined arms warfare, they haven’t trained properly, physically they haven’t got the right kit and what they do have is rubbish, and morally they are completely bankrupt.”
READ MORE: India primed to hand Putin lifeline by replacing US in huge gas deal
He said: “The Russians are like the boxer trapped in the corner of the ring against a very agile opponent who punches one side and then punches the other.
“The Ukrainians pushing the Russians back to the February 23 line – the day before the war started – by the end of 2022 I think is entirely feasible.”
However, Sir Richard also warned the potential threats from Russia – including the possible use of nuclear weapons – remains and is urging Western powers to maintain the pressure on Putin.
He continued: “We should take that nuclear threat very seriously – but we should not in any way blink and I am pretty encouraged by the response of the West,” he said.
“But if we are promising massive retaliation in some way or other, you have to prepare for the worst case, and the worst case is being at war with Russia.”