David Petraeus Says Vladimir Putin Is 'Out Of Moves' In War As Ukraine Gains Continue

Former CIA director and retired US General David Petraeus has said Russian President Vladimir Putin is "not moving" as Ukrainian forces press ahead with their counteroffensive.
"I think he literally moved out," Petraeus told CNBC of Putin on Tuesday. “He's trying all these different desperate actions. But the reality that Russia faces on the battlefield in Ukraine is that Ukraine has a far more capable and larger armed force than the country, which is more than three times its size.”
Petraeus added that the Russian president's decision to orchestrate so-called referendums in four annexed Ukrainian territories, a move widely condemned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the West, does not change the reality on the ground.
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“There is literally nothing he can do. It's irreversible," Petraeus said.
He continued: “The dynamics on the battlefield are very anti-Russian. They are just trying to establish new defensive positions.”
But Petraeus also warned that Russia could still inflict pain on Ukraine.
"Don't misinterpret that. There is still a tremendous amount of damage and destruction that Russia can inflict; they can punish,” he said.
For example, Russia has increased its use of Iranian-made suicide drones in Ukraine, according to The Associated Press.
“But at the end of the day, they cannot reverse the situation on the battlefield, which will see Ukraine reclaiming territory that Russia has held since February 24, and perhaps reclaiming everything that Russia has taken from them since 2014 ' added Petraeus.
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Putin illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.
Putin has also specifically said that he plans to use all means at his disposal to protect the four annexed territories, which has been widely taken as a warning that he is prepared to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
US officials said they don't see any practical signs of this right now, but added that we shouldn't underestimate Putin.
"I think you have to take this very seriously," Petraeus told CNBC's Hadley Gamble.
He continued, "There's no doubting the capabilities that Russia has," adding that a tactical nuclear weapon doesn't change the fact that "Ukraine has a far bigger and better and more capable military force." Still, he warned that there would be widespread destruction and "irradiation of a place on this battlefield."
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The retired army general also pointed to another thing Ukraine has going for it: a willingness to fight for its independence.
The Ukrainians "fought for their survival," Petraeus said. "The Russians are not sure what they are fighting for."
Putin on Wednesday signed the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia to Russia as Ukraine continues to gain in the east and south, according to the AP.
Watch the full interview on CNBC here.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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David Petraeus
Retired US Army officer and civil servant
Wladimir Putin
President of Russia

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