Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday, retired four-star General Barry McCaffrey expressed surprise at how badly Russia's army is performing as they attempt to occupy and subjugate Ukraine and pinned equal blame on Vladimir Putin and the military leaders who are leading the invasion.
According to the military expert, he believes the generals believe that, if they don't succeed, the Russian president will have them shot.
"You know, this entire Ukrainian intervention has called into question the capabilities of the Russian armed forces, which I do not underestimate," McCaffrey began. "They're still a large, reasonably well-equipped fighting force. They took on an operation they didn't understand, they had bad assumptions, their command and control has broken down but they're still a threat."
"These people are over a barrel," he continued. "Putin is a truck with ten forward gears and no reverse gear; he can't back out of this thing, so the danger deepens."
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"The danger does deepen," host Joe Scarborough agreed. "I'm curious, what is the impact of the morale for those generals who are around Vladimir Putin when they keep getting reports of generals getting killed on the front lines, colonels getting killed on the front line?"
"Well, I think the generals have lost control of this massive formation," McCaffery replied after briefly laughing. "This is bizarre behavior, abandoned vehicles, no vehicle track recovery units, very little, apparently, effective use of airpower in coordination with ground power. They're going back to being an artillery army, pounding and encircling cities and trying to starve them out. So I think the generals are getting desperate."
"They're getting up to the front areas of the battle, but a lot of them are probably saying to themselves saying, if we don't unscrew this mess, Putin is going to shoot us," he added. "Again, I'm really surprised that the thing has so far unraveled on them, but there's a lot artillery, a lot of helicopters. This fight isn't over. Zelenskyy's courage and time and Russian casualties could change the political calculus in Russia on the viability of this war."
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