Russia to Defeat Ukraine This Year - UK General

LONDON/KYIV - The former commander of the UK's Joint Forces Command is warning that Ukraine could face defeat by Russia this year.

General Sir Richard Barrons describes what he calls "a serious risk" of Ukraine losing the war this year. The reason, he says, is "Ukraine may come to feel it can't win". "And when it gets to that point, why will people want to fight and die any longer, just to defend the indefensible?"

Ukraine is not yet at that point. But its forces are running critically low on ammunition, troops, and air defences. Its much-heralded counter-offensive last year failed to dislodge the Russians from ground they had seized and now Moscow is gearing up for a summer offensive.

So what will that look like and what are its likely strategic objectives? "The shape of the Russian offensive that's going to come is pretty clear," says Barrons. "We are seeing Russia batter away at the front line, employing a five-to-one advantage in artillery, ammunition, and a surplus of people reinforced by the use of newish weapons."

"At some point this summer," says Barrons, "we expect to see a major Russian offensive, with the intent of doing more than smash forward with small gains to perhaps try and break through the Ukrainian lines. And if that happens we would run the risk of Russian forces breaking through and then exploiting into areas of Ukraine where the Ukrainian armed forces cannot stop them."
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