By the end of 2022, the Ukrainian military can drive Russian troops to positions they were on February 23, and by the middle of next year enter the Crimea, said the former commander of the US Army in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, in an interview with the Lithuanian TV channel LRT.
"I have great confidence in the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They were very wise and did a good job of planning and preparing for the counteroffensive. I would wait until they continue to destroy Russian logistics. I think that by the end of this year, Ukrainian forces will push Russian troops back to positions on February 23, and by the middle of next year Ukrainians will be in Crimea," General Hodges said.
According to him, Russian President Vladimir Putin understands that the situation of his troops is deteriorating, and that is why he announced the mobilization. It is also obvious that most Russians do not want to participate in the war in Ukraine.
"This should show Ukrainians that they are winning, that Russia is really desperate. The Russian people do not have the will that the Ukrainians have. We know from history that war is a test of will. Ukrainian soldiers clearly have more willpower than Russians. And the entire Ukrainian people have much more will than the Russians, and the war demonstrated this," the general said.
According to him, even if all 300,000 Russians are mobilized, as stated, it will be months before they are trained, equipped and ready to go to the front.
Asked whether the Russian president would use nuclear weapons, as he threatened in his recent speech, Hodges assured that Putin was unlikely to take this step.
"It's funny to see someone say they're not bluffing. This shows that he knows that nobody believes him. The Russians have been talking about the use of nuclear weapons for years. Of course, Putin has thousands of nukes he could use because he doesn't care how many innocent people are killed. But I still think that Putin is unlikely to use them. Nuclear weapons are actually most effective when they are not in use because they cause many governments to doubt, worry about their own safety, deter, and this is exactly what Putin wants," said General Hodges, noting that the use of nuclear weapons will turn into a catastrophe for Russia, since "the United States will no longer be able to stay away."