Vladimir Putin wanted to “break the will” of the Ukrainian people with a barrage of missiles that rained down on the country this week, but a US Army veteran has warned he failed miserably in achieving that objective. Russia unleashed missile and drone attacks on several Ukrainian cities on Monday as part of a fierce reaction to the bombing of its prized Kerch Strait Bridge in Crimea. Several Ukrainian civilians and despite dozens of others were injured, as the Kremlin ramped up warnings about nuclear weapons if its occupied territory is threatened.
Western powers have condemned the attacks, with the tone significantly changing as war tensions explode.
Retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the former Commanding General of US Army Europe, compared Russia’s barrage to what the Nazis did in World War Two “when they were launching unguarded bombs into London”.
He claimed this was an attempt to “break the will of the Ukrainians” but Putin has failed miserably in that objective.
Lieutenant General Hodges told Express.co.uk: “The Russians resorting to the use of missiles and drones attacking civilian targets with no military value is really a mirror image of what the Nazis did in World War 2 when they were launching unguarded bombs into London.
“It was an attempt to break the will because obviously they have no military value. That is what is going on here – the Russians are trying to break the will of the Ukrainians but that is never going to happen.
“It’s very clear the Ukrainians are never going to break under something like this, but I also think it is intended to break the will of the West to continue supporting this.
“There are already some people who are desperate to find a negotiated end to this – that is so short-sighted but unfortunately that is what the Russians are attempting.”
The US Army veteran said Russia’s army has been “clobbered” following heroic Ukrainian counter-offensives over recent weeks that has driven them out of occupied regions in the country.
But Lieutenant General Hodges warned Russia’s arsenal of weapons is now being seriously depleted and if anything, the attacks on Ukraine “will actually have the result of hardening the resolve of most Western Governments”.
He continued: “Russia’s military operations, otherwise, are failing. They have been clobbered and pushed back for the last couple of months and there is no positive sign in sight for them otherwise. This is an attempt to change the dynamic.
“If you can find a good thing in this – firstly, the Russians don’t have an unlimited number of precision weapons and because of the sanctions, they can’t replace these multimillion-dollar missiles they are launching into playgrounds and apartment buildings.
“Secondly everyone – heads of state, Governments and national organisations – are coming out and calling these war crimes and condemning them.
“It is important nobody is buying the Russian line that these are retaliations for terrorist strikes. This will actually have the result of hardening the resolve of most Western Governments.”
The UK Ministry of Defence has over recent weeks continue to highlight Russia’s depleted collection of weapons that has devastated their war effort in Ukraine.
On October 7, an intelligence update said Ukraine has captured hundreds of “Main Battle Tanks” and other armoured vehicles since the invasion began on February 24.
Over half of Ukraine’s currently fielded tank fleet potentially consists of captured vehicles, with troops now “demoralised” that will result in them losing even more heavy weaponry.
The MoD said: “Re-purposed captured Russian equipment now makes up a large proportion of Ukraine’s military hardware.
“Ukraine has likely captured at least 440 Russian Main Battle Tanks, and around 650 other armoured vehicles since the invasion. Over half of Ukraine’s currently fielded tank fleet potentially consists of captured vehicles.
“The failure of Russian crews to destroy intact equipment before withdrawing or surrendering highlights their poor state of training and low levels of battle discipline.
“With Russian formations under severe strain in several sectors and increasingly demoralised troops, Russia will likely continue to lose heavy weaponry.”