Appearing on MSNBC’s “Way Too Early,” foreign relations expert Richard Haass noted reports coming out of Ukraine that Russian soldiers are sabotaging their own vehicles because they don’t want to take part in the invasion is a bad omen for Vladimir Putin.
Speaking with host Jonathan Lemire, Haass — the president of the Council on Foreign Relations — admitted that Russia’s invasion may be unstoppable but in the long-term may turn into a nightmare for the Russian strongman.
“If you believe Vladimir Putin, his invasion of Ukraine is going according to plan,” host Lemire began before adding, “That’s a dubious assessment, but still what he said during a virtual meeting of his security council yesterday. Putin continued to push false claims that Nazis are in control of the Ukrainian government.”
“The speech was intended to push back against reports of logistical problems slowing down the Russian army as well as intelligence from the Pentagon that some Russian troops are surrendering or sabotaging their own vehicles rather than fighting,” Lemire stated before asking Haass for comment.
“I don’t think there’s any way, Jonathan, he can get his original plan back on track because that ship has sailed,” Haass explained, “He was counting on very little resistance from Ukraine, he had no respect for Zelenskyy, he thought the United States after Afghanistan had no stomach.”
“Europe he also had contempt for, particularly Germany,” he continued. “So he underestimated his opposition, overestimated the capability of his own forces. So now we are clearly on Plan B. Now he is basically turning to quantity, if you will, more than quality to essentially level big parts of Ukraine. But because he is who he is, because he is an autocrat, he has to be infallible. He can never admit that he made a mistake, so that’s what you had yesterday. I don’t know what the word is in Russian, but it must be something like spinsky.”
Reacting to reports that Russian soldiers are sabotaging their own mission, Hass, explained, “Clearly they have more troubles. The Russians aren’t used to fighting this kind of war. This isn’t what they did in Syria — it is at a scale they’re not used to. The equipment looks old, the troops don’t look well-trained, they’re not motivated, they don’t seem to understand what it is they’re doing and why, so I think this is of a larger piece. The idea that there might be some troops sabotaging is really interesting. It doesn’t seem to be happening at scale, but this has got to be Putin’s nightmare because essentially he depends upon his security forces, not just the soldiers but obviously inside the country. That’s any autocrat’s nightmare, that as protests begin to mount that the security forces either get overwhelmed or show sympathy with the protesters.”
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