US would destroy Russia’s entire army if Putin deploys nukes in Ukraine, says former CIA director

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The US and its allies would eradicate Russia’s military troops in Ukraine and sink its Black Sea fleet if Vladimir Putin uses nuclear weapons, said former CIA director David Petraeus.

“Just to give you a hypothetical, we would respond by leading a Nato – a collective – effort that would take out every Russian conventional force that we can see and identify on the battlefield in Ukraine and also in Crimea and every ship in the Black Sea,” said Mr Petraeus speaking to ABC News on Sunday.

The retired four-star general, however, clarified that he has not spoken to US national security advisor Jake Sullivan about the possible US response.

Tensions are on the rise since Mr Putin warned that the country would not hesitate to use “various weapons of destruction” with former president Dmitry Medvedev giving a more direct threat about Russia’s right to use nuclear weapons to defend its territories.

On being questioned if Russia’s use of nuclear weapons would be construed as an attack on Nato members, Mr Petraeus said that one can “make that case”.

“The other case is that this is so horrific that there has to be a response, so cannot go unanswered,” he said, adding that Nato allies should not respond by deploying their own nuclear weapons. “But it does not expand. It is not nuclear for nuclear. You don’t get into a nuclear escalation here but you have to show that this cannot be accepted in any way.”

He, however, said that Russia is “losing” in Ukraine and “the battlefield reality” that Mr Putin faces is “irreversible”. The comments came as Moscow withdrew troops from Lyman, a key city in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, days after it announced annexing four areas of the war-torn country through a referendum that Ukraine slammed as a “propaganda show”.

The retired general lauded Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for having mobilised forces “better than Russia” as he added that the country “recruited… trained, equipped, organised and employed forces incomparably better than Russia has”.

“And the reality facing Russia now is that Ukraine—a country a third the size of Russia— has a bigger, much more effective army on the ground,” he said. “So he faces a situation that I think again is irreversible. There’s no amount of shambolic mobilization, which is the only way to describe it, no amount of annexation, no amount of even veiled nuclear threats, can actually get him out of this particular situation.”

“He announced the annexation, he’s already lost a really critical element in that critical city that would have been a very key supply hub had they been able to go farther and that’s just going to continue. He’s going to continue to lose on the battlefield.”

Last month the Russian president passed partial mobilisation order in the country, prompting over 260,000 locals to flee to nearby states. The orders also sparked heated protests in the country with several civilians chanting “no to war”, in the country as videos of violent confrontations between the demonstrators and police.

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