tv Fmr. NATO Supreme Allied Cmdr. Europe on Ukraines Military Strategy CSPAN September 6, 2022 5:21pm-6:21pm EDT
session question time on domestic and foreign issues brought up by the house of commons. live coverage begins wednesday at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 2 . announcer: general philip reed law says ukraine's defensive -- defenses can have a major effect on the war if the u.s. and nato provide what is needed to counter russian aggression. he spoke at a discussion hosted by the atlantic council about ukraine's military strategy. this runs about an hour. >> good afternoon, good evening. i am the deputy director the atlantic council's eurasia center. >> thank you c-span for joining us. we have an hour together. we will have a conversation and at the end, we invite you to put
your questions into the chat or send us questions on twitter. without further ado, max boot, the jeanne kirkpatrick fellow in natural -- national security studies and contributor to the washington post. general philip dash, former supreme allied commander in europe and a great friend of the eurasia center. -- senior policy researcher at the rand corporation. anything she writes is worth reading. we have a national security correspondent at the wall street journal, fresh back from purse on. -- we have andre mckee is going to be late, he is the former minister of defense and distinguished fellow at the eurasia center and chairman of a great think tank in kyiv called the center for defense strategies. if you are not getting his daily updates, get online and have a look. i want to make the most of our
time and go to -- kick us off. two weeks ago, ukraine launched its long-awaited counteroffensive to retake territory in the south. how much territory do you expect ukraine to liberate? what are the challenges they will face? >> thank you for having me. i look forward to several of these. to hit the large question first, i believe this offenses can have a major effect on this war. -- rolling your grenade out on the table. that is to be determined by leaders in the west. if we are going to provide ukraine what it needs, ukraine has the wherewithal, the forces and the will to make a difference.
largely how this rolls out will depend on what the west has done to help supply the effort. skipping now to what we see on the ground, and there are several here who have more recent experience than me. i hope they will add some points as well. it appears that despite all of the news, and there is an aggressive disinformation campaign out there about what is going on the south. learned individuals on the ground and reporters are seeing limited successes by the ukrainian forces. they appear to be trying come as you know, the whole area is dominated by a series of rivers and river inlets and bodies of water. they are attempting to use the geography and the limited roads and bridges to divide the
russian forces and make them feel exposed and vulnerable on the west side of the river, causing major problems for russia. they are having some small, town by town success. probably nothing that we would call major at this point. but the major point that -- the major point is that in some way, they are moving forward. they are meeting some resistance. russia has added to their forces in the area. the bottom line is ukraine is having limited successes. i will leave it at that because of the confusion out there. the biggest point to walk away from this is russia is beginning to feel vulnerable in the south. you saw some hints by some senior russian leaders yesterday of the possibility of resuming
talks. albeit to meet only the russian objectives, but the mere fact they are coming back to the table says something about what they are feeling. >> would you jump in and build in on general breedlove's point? we have a press blackout, it is hard to get information. how do we figure out what is actually going on? say more about the disinformation too, please. >> as we were talking about in the beginning, it is hard to make sense of what is going on. even for someone who has been dealing in this space for a long time. russian telegrams, but i often do is look at the negative space, what they are not showing. if you go through the major channels, nobody is talking about --. some self-limiting behavior, they are not supposed to talk about too much. -- anything the criminal -- the
kremlin doesn't want. i look at ukrainian social media to get a sense of what is happening. trying to keep in mind this is an active, ongoing battle. people are not providing detailed information on day-to-day operations. i understand that, it just makes it difficult to make heads or tails of it. what i assume is, similar to what general breedlove mentioned, both sides don't really possess anything they would consider a major victory. otherwise, they would show it. or, they would discuss it. that goes for both russians and ukrainians. right now, i am patiently waiting for updates. >> thank you. we are so glad to have you. -- got back from her son and you have seen up close what the -- looks like. what other challenges do the ukrainians face in trying to liberate this territory that has
not mentioned? you are muted, vivian. >> thank you for having me. i spent almost two weeks doing a slow crawl from odessa eastward into cursed -- into kherson province. it was an interesting dynamic you saw. geography being a huge factor in all of this. what i mean by geography is just the landscape of the south and the weapons they were receiving from the u.s. as being very beneficial. we have known for months, ukrainian forces have been literally begging the u.s. and other allies to send long-range systems to help them. in the south, that was especially critical. we are talking about vast fields of watermelon and wheat and sunflower and there really is no cover for the soldiers. one of the things i heard from them, and i probably visited
over a dozen checkpoints and frontlines, some of them were quieter than others, others were being really hammered. one of the things they were saying was because of the geography, they do not have cover. between russian forces being so skilled in using drones, whereas ukrainians have really struggled with that because the russians are very good at jamming their drones. plus, the russians are so good at digging trenches and utilizing them, they have been getting completely hammered and having to fall back further and further. when they got the -- in late june early july, they started seeing results. it was literally like a flip of a switch. a week before we had gone there, we were hearing that one of the units we visited in kherson had seen basically a massacre. they had lost tons of forces.
when we saw them a week after that horrible battle, they were sitting in a courtyard smoking cigarettes and getting a few minutes of downtime. clearly very traumatized by what had happened, but they said straight out that already, even though they just received the himars, it gave them an edge. they were able to be in forward and they had recaptured a small village near to where we were. that, to them, is a huge advantage. they were -- even if they were able to make just a few feet of gain is a big change to what had been happening deviously where they were getting hammered. they recognized that a few feet is hardly a major victory, but it is for them a victory. they are very optimistic now. they believe more himars make a difference. but, it will be a slog. no matter how many they get,
russian forces are pouring in resources, utilizing whatever advantages they have in the landscape as far as supply routes along the river, bombed out bridges, whatever they can use to their advantage to hold off ukrainian forces, they are doing so. the russian government has no problem just piling soldiers in even as they get massacred one after another. it is like this endless supply, they think, of russian forces. it has been a struggle. i spent a lot of time in kharkiv. there's a lot of differences i saw on that front line to what we saw in the south. the south, we do believe at this stage they are in a position to make incremental gains. it is going to be a long way, but it is a change. that is something very positive. >> are these numbers correct? at one point he ukrainians were saying they were losing up to
200 men a day. after himars, it was closer to 30. are those numbers correct? what do you hear in your reporting? >> those of the official numbers we keep hearing. anecdotally, from what i was hearing various units on the front line, it does seem like the are losing far fewer soldiers. the units i visited were telling me they were losing men left and right. there were a couple of battles that were really ugly, as recently as july. not only were they losing fewer soldiers, but also making gains as a result of the himars coming in. with that alone, they believe that is a huge advantage because between manpower and the loss of weapons, the loss of drones, all of those things have been very critical for them to make even the slightest gains. they do believe now that is changing in their favor. >> what are the military guys
you talk to on the ukrainian side saying about the timeframe of the counteroffensive? months? weeks? >> it is funny you ask. i interviewed the minister of defense while there, my second time interviewing him. he was very positive and believed may be late summer, early fall, you could start seeing targets against crimea with long-range missiles. maybe they would be in kherson by late september or early october. you talk to the soldiers and they will tell you a very different story. they will tell you, let kyiv think whatever it wants. we are on the frontlines and we believe it is going to be longer than that. we are very sober about the timeframe. they didn't want to give an estimate, but they said, we know when we are ready. we know when this battle is going to tip in our favor and we are not there yet.
i caution people to take what you are hearing from the government as opposed to people from the armed forces with a grain of salt. when you go to the front lines, the commanders will tell you something different than they are a lot more conservative about any kind of estimates. they do believe those estimates being out there in the public is good for momentum, to keep soldiers revved up and have them believe the battle is in their favor, but when you go there and see the looks on their faces, just how brutal, slow and painful the battle has been, you recognize maybe there is truth to both stories in terms of an average in the middle of the timeframe. >> that is helpful. max, can we talk a little about time? in the journalist community, we have this long argument about, is time on russia's side were ukraine's? do you think ukraine is facing a race against the clock to make
big gains before winter? what do you think can realistically happen before winter sets in? >> i have gone back and forth on that question. you could make arguments for both sides. what i would say big picture right now is that certainly the fate of kherson in the south remains to be very much determined, just as there is lots to be determined in the east. big picture right now, it is fair to say ukraine has already won its war of independence. when putin launched this aggression on february 24, his plan was to march into kyiv three days. he was going to take over the entire country in a matter of weeks and clearly that is not going to happen. putin will hope to break ukraine apart, and dominate.
that is not going to happen. instead of leading to division in ukraine, the russian invasion has led to ukrainian unity. polls show that well over 90% of ukrainians believe the war will be successful land they support president zelenskyy in his conduct of the war. there is rocksolid ukrainian support. there have been hidden victories for ukraine that have not gotten the attention they deserve. for example, the july 22 agreement in which russia allowed ukraine to start exporting grain and other x -- other goods. this is hoping to -- pruden was using to try to bludgeon ukraine and its allies. so far i would say on the economic front, the russian energy has not resulted what putin wanted because he thought by threatening energy cutoffs,
he would make europe set her support to ukraine. that is not happening. they are finding ways around russian energy, despite the recent cut off of the nord stream pipeline. it is important that the u.s. remains very strong and so largely bipartisan despite being rustled by -- within the publican party. -- the republican. nato has been strengthened and finland joining. putin is not achieving his objectives. it wasn't just his initial objective of taking over all of ukraine, he has not even achieved his intermediate objective laid out in april of taking all of donbass. that hasn't happened either. the russians really have not made any gains beyond that. and now the ukrainians have the
initiative. the ukrainians are on the offensive. we are talking about what is the nature of the ukrainian offensive, but i think the important point here is right now more than six months into the war, the russians have suffered very heavy losses. the ukrainians are on the offensive. the ukrainians have the momentum. to get back to a point, if we step up a two ukraine, they can make dramatic gains on the ground. they have turned around its war with fewer than 20 -- systems. imagine what they can do with 60 himars. with m1 tanks. we have all of this stuff, we should be giving it to the ukrainians. but even without that stuff, they have -- right now and we don't know the final outcome for the territory, but we can say that putin has not achieved his
warnings. ukraine has basically won its war than dependence and the question is how much of its own territory will ukraine control? the question of whether they will be an independent western state of ukraine, that is no longer on the table. ukraine has achieved a massive victory in that regard. >> thank you. you have been such a clear, consistent voice throughout the invasion. you, general breedlove and others have urged the administration to provide more weapons. there is an argument we keep hearing from the biden administration and the national security council. that argument is russian escalation. the biden administration keeps insisting russia can escalate and we can't go too far. they keep changing the redline. what do you think? how do you respond to that escalation argument? >> i agree we should not be sending u.s. troops to fight in ukraine.
even though the soviets and the chinese center there forces to korea, vietnam. russians operating aircraft, shooting at americans and so forth. i am not advocating that we do that. anything short of direct american military intervention is fair game. i don't understand the logic that says we can send ukraine rockets with a range of 40 to 50 miles but cannot send them rockets with a range of 150 miles. so if we do the 15 mile rocket, that's ok. but, the 150 mile rockets, putin will launch world war iii. i do not see any indication that putin is suicidal. yes, he is evil and he has miscalculated. we have miscalculated in our wars too, so it is not a sign you are deranged or irrational.
you are the victim of bad intelligence. i think the russians were the victims of bad intelligence. we have seen that putin has made rational moves. once he saw that kyiv was not going to fall, he retreated and focused on the donbass. he has been, i think in some ways, following the invasion -- supreme people. largely, somewhat fairly cautious in how he has been conducting himself. he has not been attacking -- even though we know all of this military equipment is going to poland. is he attacking poland? no. he does not want to start world war iii. i think we worry too much about triggering putin by sending more military equipment. as long as we are not sending american troops. the ukrainians are not going to use f-16s to bomb moscow, that is not going to happen.
but, they need more capabilities to try to take more of their lost territory. >> gerald, i saw you shaking your head. what did max miss? >> i was shaking my head up and down, and left and right. i am in violent agreement with most of what he said. the bottom line is we are deterred. mr. putin is doing a good job of deterring us. we have to figure out how to get out from behind it. three presidents in the past have stood up to russia, in every bit as tough a situation. we took almost a battalion of troops off the face of the earth in northern syria. we flew relief and supplies into georgia while there was a lot of war still being fought we stood up in the cuban missile crisis
and came out the other side just fine. i agree with max, i do not think he is suicidal. we have to respect what he is saying, but others have respected what the russians have said and they have stepped out and taken those steps. i believe that two or three of us have said, the ukrainians are succeeding in many ways. but, we are very much throttling their approach to the war. doing that by limiting supplies, etc. i think really this happening right now is a policy decision more than anything else. >> thank you. andre, thank you for joining us. this is a question. andre was zelenskyy's first defense minister. this is a question for you. you guys are really good
specialists on the russian army. i would like to ask you, could you please assess the russian army six months in? many think that morale is breaking in no one wants to serve in ukraine. they also argue russia is using old equipment. others think russia has plenty of sophisticated weapons, just has not moved them. how strong or weak are the russians and how long can they hold out? >> i think the truth is somewhere in the middle. we definitely cannot say the russian army has completely exhausted and has no capabilities whatsoever. we see they have been exhausting the -- and parts of their overall capability, which they sent to ukraine. we have destroyed an enormous amount of weapons. we are talking about hundreds of planes and helicopters, thousands of -- and tens of thousands of casualties. at the same time, they do
currently hire new recruits. they are bringing additional units and essentially all of these targets which they put to their generals when forming more unions, all of those targets are delivered. they cannot say they cannot hire people. of course, the devil is in the details. in our case -- [indiscernible] they also have some specific units which they hire from the street with no background, no training. they train them and they have national units and they have -- units, which are essentially absolutely no --. with no background experience. they have all kinds of auctions to avoid the fact there is no
overwhelming desire of the russian people to join the army. so, i would say that indeed they certainly cannot escalate -- conversation. they cannot double their efforts. i believe they cannot continue with the current -- where they can continue with the current -- of the troops. they can continue here troops ukraine operational directions for quite a long time. the good news is that the -- groups and the level of their training and capabilities are generally the level of the -- capabilities going to be lower. as this war goes, of course they will be losing more people and their desire to join would be diminished.
i have to say that of course they also mobilize -- occupied areas. what they do is completely disastrous and disgusting because they are putting -- on the frontline and in some cases they were -- and -- as they retreated. basically meeting that they are throwing them at the cannon fodder in order to die, and then the rest of the russian troops dissipated. now the question is about the statement that they still have a lot of sophisticated equipment. they do. they -- two 60%, we believe. same thing with -- maybe higher. at the same time, still quite a lot. at the same time, they cannot
completely deplete their -- to ukraine. they cannot be in a situation where they don't have weapons at all. they will keep their reserves in different parts of the world. they still try to maintain the global postures so they will be keeping assets in the pacific and central asia. the question is not russia has, the question is what russia can scented -- can commit to ukraine. what they can actually put in order to progress with this invasion effort. we believe they do not have enough to progress. we think that currently we managed to stop their advances and we believe in the case we receive -- i'm sorry, when we receive more weapons, we will be able to push them in certain directions quite well. i guess we are seeing currently the russian army in a quite damaged state.
that is sort of a massive target . their objective is unattainable at the moment. i will be very quick, of course this is completely very interesting and disastrous for our situation in the maritime respect because with a few ships we do not can -- we can't keep them basically in the harbor. we exercise -- concept and that is going to continue. the prospect of russian -- is very bad. we can see being completely destroyed or diminished to the point that it plays a very limited role. it is optimistic, but i think it is achievable. certainly they do not play that role which they planned to play originally.
obviously, the fact that we did not allow them to get -- air security and still our -- is reasonably capable and still doing some great job in a number of areas, i think it is remarkable. >> i am going to stop you there. i promise we will come back to you. what did andre miss? anything else in your assessment of the russian military? >> i agree with andre. i would note that of all of russia's acute problems, expending so many of their munitions, they are trying to take this plan b ad hoc way to overcome their challenges. they are drawing between 90 different pools of people to fill the ranks on the frontline. they are recruiting from prisons. there's rumors they are recruiting from psychiatric institutions. they are really just trying to
get bodies on the frontline. receiving anywhere from one to four weeks of basic training at most. this is really not a successful way to solve this problem. as one might expect. it will allow them to replenish their current frontlines, but i share the assessment of the group that this is not something that is going to allow them to make rapid gains forward. they just can't do it. but there is an effort of replenishment underway. with respect to the equipment they lost, they lost not only the equipment itself, but the best trained crews that operate them. tanks, artillery come into fit -- armored personnel carriers, some of their best equipment got absolutely shredded, particularly up north. they can't readily recover from that. they do have thousands of pieces of equipment in storage, sitting in siberian fields for 15 years. not all of it works, not all of it works well.
they are probably going to start cannibalizing it for parts. they are drawing on equipment and putting it in ukraine. from the ukrainian soldier's perspective, they see russia as someone who can draw on unlimited armor to bid against this. but again, it is not going to be -- with respect to the missile question, russia has plowed through some of its -- and they are trying to take different approaches to overcome that. repurchasing air defense missiles. what do you see is even more collateral damage on ukrainian civilian buildings and unintended targets. you also see the russians dipping into their antiship cruise missile inventory. that was a very large stockpile, several thousand that are conventional land have pretty decent precision. they are going into that already. where it has been lost and where you see a big difference is in russian tactical aviation. there fighter aircraft are
really low on tactical, short-range precision munitions. what you end up seeing his russian fighters flying very low to the ground, firing unguarded rockets, then banking out to try to avoid ukrainian air defense. this should have -- russian airpower should have been a huge advantage for russia and ukraine and they were not able to make it happen. bottom line, a lot of challenges, muddling through. but the russians are putting down markers that this is not over for them. they might have to extend their timeline for their objective, but the larger objectives remain unchanged. looking at the structure they have left, i remain pessimistic they will ever be able to achieve that larger objective first. ukraine, kyiv, even in the long term. five or 10 years would be too much to ask. >> the obvious question is, what is the best they can do given
all of the constraints you just outlined? can they take up to the dnipro? >> what they think they can do is kherson. in my view, they will annex it into russia. that'll force a shock to the system that would impact the west's willingness or desire to assist ukraine at current levels. that is what they think they are going to do. i see a lot of challenges for them right now, particularly in kherson. there's a lot of vulnerable troops on the wrong side of the river. the bridges are blown. they are ferrying them across the river. sometimes i wonder if i am in a
general wargames situation. how did it get to this for them? i think that is going to be a challenge. they do not possess all of donuts, zaporizhia and now kherson is under threat. yesterday, they said they would delay the referendum in kherson to november because the security situation is so poor. that is what the victory looks like near-term for ukraine preventing them from feeling like they have a solidified --. >> wonderful. we haven't talked at all about the nuclear power plant in zaporizhia. there's a couple of things that stand out, do the russians keep trying to disconnect it? getting very close to a scary situation where they don't have much fuel to cool down new reactors. russians were also very oddly
willing to cooperate with the international community. what do you make of this? >> the russians like to demonstrate that they are cooperating with the international community because they don't want to have that hanging over their heads. even though a lot of it is very superficial. we saw it even with some of the hostage negotiations where the u.n. had taken a roll and they were open to that and so the iea team were able to access the plant were actually waiting for a briefing from them today to find out what their assessment is. so that we could know the exact situation but obviously it's a very dire very serious situation there where you have fighting near any nuclear plant. they were near chernobyl as well earlier this year. but chernobyl is not anywhere near as critical as the power plant. and so there's a lot of concern
about you know any kind of damage, any kind of fighting near a nuclear power plant is something that is considered a very serious situation . theoretically, the russians also know that even though they would be happy to foment any kind of chaos to tip the scales in their favor. they do appear to understand that any kind of damage to a nuclear plant would not bode well for their efforts as well. and, you know, even saw it in in chernobyl earlier this year, where they allowed the ukrainian specialists to stay there basically as hostages, but they allowed them to stay there because they recognize that they couldn't operate the plan on -- plant on their own and they didn't want anything to go wrong. so there is a sense that the russians do recognize the stakes, albeit they're going to blame the ukrainians for being the ones to cause the disruption around the plant, which is pretty, pretty laughable.
and so that's sort of where we stand now. it will be very interesting to see what the iea team come out with following their visit this week. but the situation is pretty dire and whether or not the plant can stay online, uh, that is that is -- that is a big concern. it's down to the sort of its last legs as far as operation goes. and so, the impact of that could be really critical, not just for ukraine, but for the whole of europe. and so that's why there's so much concern across the continent about the outcome of the situation and the security of that player. >> wonderful. max. i want to turn to you, a couple of people are asking about your comments about congress, can you you're so clear on this point, can you please explain why ukraine is in supporting ukraine is in america's national interest, it's 5000 miles away. and we have big midterm
elections coming up very soon. do you expect support for ukraine to remain strong after these elections? or what do you think? there's some polling that shows that there's some serious partisan different differences when it comes to the support. and bob mcconnell pointed out that a bunch of republicans had voted against the $40 billion dollar bills. so tell us where you think things are going politically? >> well, just to answer the first part first, very briefly, i think the u.s. has a massive stake in the outcome of the war in ukraine, which can be boiled down to do we want to live in a world which is or the rule of law, governance, or do we want to live according to the law of the jungle? that's basically what we're talking about. this is the very foundation of the post-1945 order in europe. and in the world that putin is undermining. he is attacking not just ukraine, he is attacking the very principle that borders will not be changed by force and that nations can be free from aggression from their neighbors. and so if we allow putin to get away with what he's doing in ukraine will not only it would be a terrible tragedy for ukraine and we're seeing that
the russians are committing horrific war crimes, you know, all over the country. this is a humanitarian tragedy and nightmare, the likes of which europe has not seen since world war ii. beyond the horrible tragedy for the people of ukraine, i think this would be a tragedy for the people of europe, especially for eastern european states, which are next going to be in russia sites. he's not going to be satisfied with taking ukraine as part of his project of resurrection the russian/soviet empire. and of course there are a lot of countries including some currently in nato, that used to be part of the soviet empire which are going to be in in in putin's crosshairs, if he wins in ukraine, which he's not going to do, but if he if he were and it would also send a horrible dispiriting message to countries like china which are, you know, contemplating their own attack on taiwan for example, which is a war that could easily drag in the us and the world war three, -- world war iii. if putin can get away with what he's doing in ukraine, i think that would be a signal to china, they can get away with anything they want.
in taiwan. and conversely if we show that, you know, the entire civilized world, the west is united in stopping russia, that it will be defeated. i think that will send a very positive message that aggression does not pay, that the rule of law still means something and that there is still a unity and coherence in the west to stand up for our shared transatlantic ideals. so, the stakes could not possibly be higher. i think this is probably the most consequential conflict since 1945. and really the future shape of europe is being determined on the battlefields of ukraine right now. and the ukrainians are fighting and dying for the beliefs and the ideals that all of us in the transatlantic community have now -- have now. in terms of, you know, what is going to be the impact of the midterms? how does the republican party stand? i have some concerns because right now the support has been very bipartisan. and i think there is a democratic republican consensus,
you've seen that the giant aid bills for ukraine and we're providing far more supporting money than anybody else. they have not been controversial. congress has actually put more money in than the biden administration has asked for. but there is that kind of pro russia caucus and the two most important and influential leaders on the right in america are basically pro putin. and by that, i mean, donald trump and tucker carlson, they are both spreading pro putin, pro russia propaganda. tucker in particular, and he is the largest cable host in america. so and there is that kind of ultra-mega caucus within the republican party, that for whatever reason you can debate why, but they love putin, they think that he's a champion of christianity of white civilization, all this rap that they spread and they're also isolationist. so they're opposed to america needing our allies. and there's another, there's kind of another subset of republicans who are not isolationist but are so focused
on taiwan and china that they think that we shouldn't be doing anything else in europe that would detract from china and taiwan, which is missing the big picture again, which is like the best thing we can do to save taiwan right now is to save ukraine and to make russia pay a massive price for its aggression. so far everything has been pretty much kumbaya in congress and almost everybody aside from the hardcore ultra mag going -- pro-maga. everybody else has been very pro ukraine, but i'm concerned about what happens after november, particularly if republicans take over the house, if the maga caucus grows, that will put more pressure on kevin mccarthy not to provide so much aid to ukraine. and one thing that we know about kevin mccarthy is that he is very weak. he is cowardly, he refuses to stand up to trump and his maga caucus. and so if they if trump and his
crew applying pressure, this could come off the works. which is why i think it's incredibly important for congress to approve another large aid bill for ukraine before the new congress is seated because right now, because there's going to be the optimal time for finding bipartisan support for ukraine struggle for freedom. >> great point max great point. ok, my friends, we have 16 minutes. we have 74 questions. so i would we're going to do this. i would ask you to a mute -- unmute yourself and i'm going to direct a question. you and you're going to be so short and sweet, you're going to you're going to get all get a pluses and i'm scared to do this. give me two sentences. what do you expect the russians to do this winter? should we expect attacks on critical infrastructure and heating facilities? are expecting something else? >> we should expect that yes, there's a very high risk that they can do that and that they will. and also, we should expect them to do a massive information war in europe by developing that fatigue and using that frustration from them from their prices and so on. so, to push ukraine to negotiations and we have to resist this by all means.
>> super. >> super. you pass. general breedlove do you believe ukraine might receive f sixteen's from either the us or another ally, sir? not -- >> not in the short term. we need to get started now. training and doing the things that will enable ukraine to move into 1/4 and fifth gen air force and for that matter, all their combined arms business. we want ukraine to be a great combined arms military. >> super, thank you. i'm not sure who wants this one, but please raise your hand. this is a great question. what was the rationale for having the counter offensive now? no military expert says that ukrainians had enough equipment in order to be successful. who wants that one? >> yeah, i think that we just
need to do this as soon as we can because simply there is the time doesn't work for your brain. we as like as soon as we have a capacity to push russians out of any territory, we should use that. i'm not saying we should hurry. i don't i don't say no way. i'm saying we should do it at any cost. should be really careful. but if there is an opportunity, we need to use it because time basically isn't working for us. that's it. >> super. dara, this is for you from viola. viola. great to have you with this. she said you mentioned russia is blowing through its stock of anti-ship missiles. do you mean for land targets? could you clarify please? yeah, anti-ship cruise missiles are primarily for sea targets but they're taking them and turning them around and firing them backwards onto the land. so, they're taking existing stocks. repurposing the target base. >> super. thank you. a plus vivian on the nuclear plant. do you see any merit to the
argument that putin is semi suicidally using the meltdown possibility to blackmail the west into the iea visit thus becomes an instrument of this. hence russia's cooperation with the visit. what do you make of that from john weisert. >> honestly, if i could read vladimir putin's mind, i'd probably be a very wealthy woman. so, i will rely on the experts here who all said that they don't believe that he's suicidal or trying that. i think, you know, vladimir putin ultimately has only wanted ukraine in his orbit and he's trying to use whatever tools he can, whether or not he would actually do something to the power plant to, you know, you have the worst case scenario. i i find that really hard to believe, but i also found it hard to believe that he'd go after kiev in the first place and here we are. i do not, i do not think that that would be the ultimate goal. i think he would love to use it as a threat, but not an actual tactic. whether or not he does or not remains to be seen. >> super. max, a question for you, are we doing enough to develop parts of our own defense industry that takes into account long term demand from the ukraine war general wesley clark says no.
what are your views max? well, i think we clearly need to ramp up production and i think we need to be less conservative in our estimates of what we need for stockpiles. because there's a tendency to be very conservative with the pentagon to say, oh, we can't send all these munitions to ukraine. we can't send all these weapons systems, we need them ourselves. the reality is, you know, we're not going to be using, we're not going to be attacking somebody with claymore's anytime soon. we need to push everything we can to the ukrainians right now and build more to backfill the stockpiles and that's, that's what we ought to be doing. >> super. thank you. general breedlove. i see your fingers and i want to ask you a question, go ahead. >> just to add to what max just said, not only do we need to think about our stockpiles, but we need to think about our capacity. the way that we fund defense spending for things like weapons, it's, it's a very minimalist approach and there's no extra. if we want to have the ability to expand, we need to signal to the industries that we need more and we need to fund or create funding streams that allows industry to buy that excess capacity.
>> super. and here's your question from jacob wahlberg. he says, how likely is it that the russian military will simply collapse as an effective fighting force this winter? if you're a gambling man. what, what's, what's your ratio? >> well, i think they're going to last a lot longer than winter because what we really haven't talked about is, uh, people always talk about this long war. i believe right now, russia's really focused on the winter because they need to separate the european people from european governments. and so, they need to make european people cold and have no heating and no fuel oil so that they will then bring pressure against their governments. and so i think that a part of what you see by russia out there right now is giving up and losing a lot of capability to hold on to winter to try to win this in a political sense, thank -- clinical sense.
>> thank you so much for bringing that in. there's an article in the washington post that suggests meteorologists are saying that it looks like it's going to be a warm winter. so it may be a little tougher, although ukrainians are warning that it's going to be a cold winter in ukraine. so i'm not sure who to believe the ukrainians are saying, go out and buy long underwear and get ready. so let's see. next question could russia defeat the counter offensive by falling back. let the ukrainians advance and then flanking them when they are exposed. >> well, we certainly can say that we know exactly which capabilities they have. we know how many of what pieces of where are the people and so on. so i don't think they can do anything like super unexpected to us. and so the short answer is no i don't think they can do any tactical measures of that type. and really expect us to sort of
be trapped. >> how effective have the russians been at shooting down high mars rockets are jamming their guidance signals. is there a learning curve? >> there certainly is a learning curve for the ukrainians. yeah, there's definitely a learning curve. and one of the interesting things that i kept on hearing on the front lines is that they're you know, there's a lot of these frontline soldiers, you know, they hear that they are coming and it's a very encouraging bit of information but they have never used western equipment before. most of these guys have never even touched anything but soviet era equipment. and so the whole idea of a mid-war transferred to some sophisticated us systems was absolutely daunting for them when they're in the middle of this intense battle. and especially with high marks that require weeks of training. and so that's the challenge on the ukrainian side, the russians so far have seemed to be, have been eluded by the high mars but also keep in mind there are not that many on the ground yet so the targets are few and the ukrainians have been good at disguising the high mars when they're not in use.
and so as far as we've heard nothing so far, but you know that doesn't, that doesn't mean that they won't figure it out when there are more high marks on the ground. >> thank you so much. can you get into putin's mind for us for a minute? so this is going to be, is it accurate to say that if the russians can't conquer ukraine in the areas that they've outlined, that they want, that they're going to do the mariupol method on kyiv? why haven't they taken zelenskyy out and why have they just done to kyiv what they did to mariupol? >> well, there's a big difference between kiev and -- kyiv and mariupol. the world were not paying attention to the ukrainians who did a magnificent job of building a defense in depth north of kiev, making it much tougher to take than that flatter land and access by the sea to the people in the south. and frankly, i don't think they have the force right now to even
think about kyiv. they're struggling to do what they want to do in the south. so i think that they've learned their lessons and to keep some, -- in the kyiv, some call it an operational loss, some call it a strategic loss in either case it had a huge impact on russia and its military capability. i don't seek to have on the table ever. >> thank you. one more question for you from you guys know each other. how optimistic is it that even with more us nato weapons, say 60 high mars, ukraine can retake all the territories occupied since february 24th in a reasonable period of time, it --. the time -- period of time? >> it would take more than just the high marks. i mean, and part of the problem here is that ukrainians have proven us wrong over and over. they can assimilate high end technology rather quickly and so we need to start somewhere preparing them for the ability to retake that land. can we do it in the next month or two? maybe not.
but we can make a huge impact on this counter offensive if we take the policy decision now to give them the right kit at the right place at the right time in order to affect this counter offensive. >> i think we're going to have to put the mugs and t shirts i've heard that a few times, i like that. max, question for you, how can you claim that the ukrainians have already won? could this weekend resolve and help from -- with help from the out side? >> well, they have one because i think they've nobody here really thinks that the russians are going to roll in the key of any time in in in the foreseeable future. that the ukrainian state has actually shown much greater resiliency and strength than anybody expected. and the russians have proven much less militarily effective than than i think people expected. so at this point, i mean i think it is the case that putin
probably holds hope that at some point in the future the europeans will abandon ukraine that eventually he'll be able to bludgeon the ukrainians down that he'll be able to march into odessa, cut them off in the black sea. i mean, i think these are probably some of the dreams that putin still holds, but i just don't think that there is any realistic prospect of that that they will achieve that. and so i think the you know, the the ukrainian state is still under threat and still fighting, but i think its viability as a state is not in question right now. >> super. thank you. tell us about the impact of weapons being provided to ukraine by other states other than the u.s.. what weapon systems would you call out as being super helpful from poland, from france, from germany, from estonia, from slovakia. go ahead. >> every nation which which supplies even a small quantity contributes to the reaching critical mass. i'm a huge believer of the critical mass concept that i think we'll be able to we were able to change the dynamic of the war after we reached a
certain number of equipment constantly operating. currently, there are, countries which are contributing to this and -- yeah, there's been a collective, so in a way it's like a crowd crowd sourcing, crowd funding methods. so any any input is, is great even when there are some nations which are, you know, run out of their own equipment, so they are providing funding and they're buying things for us. then there are some nations which are outsourcing in there with their own people and then they go and buy like for example, like biochar drums etcetera. so, so there are different ways people in europe and the other countries do in order to, to help us. and this is amazing. but also right now there is a new challenge coming and it's called sustaining the capabilities. there is a question about how do we repair the equipment, how do we keep it going, how do we service it and so on. there are some countries which helping with this.
and that's yeah, so that's a new, new, basically new phase of this, of this equipment work essentially. >> there's a great paper that russi the think tank in london put out about all the different systems and the difficulty of maintaining and i recommend that paper. what is ukraine's priority now or what do you think the priority will be in the next couple of couple of weeks this fall? >> i think they've done a really good job about attacking behind the lines going into crimea i think was completely unexpected for the russians. they were not prepared for that outcome. it took them a few weeks to cover and cope for that, which i think they're starting to learn now. they've got more air defenses going over their critical facilities. i think unexpected uses of weapons is also having an impact. the ukrainians are using harm missiles. they're putting them on their aircraft and they're using them to target russian air defenses. so i think there is a mass problem on the ukrainian side to have a big large armored, you know, counter offensive. but these kind of pinprick attacks and targeted areas are being really effective. so i think they should continue along those lines.
. >> fantastic. general breedlove, can you please help us tell us a bit about ukraine's air support capabilities in the offensive. how is ukraine trying to ensure air cover, if any? >> well, you missed a great conversation this morning about air denial, which is what ukraine has done magnificently. its a new term. so they haven't thought of it in that way, but they have given russia fits in being effective with their air power over ukraine. and so we would want that to continue if you're following the number of sorties flown by the ukrainian air force. it has surged in the last several days, much higher than say three weeks ago. so they are trying now to tie that air power to their ground maneuver. that is combined arms warfare that we haven't seen out of the russians even. and so i believe that we see a growing understanding and capability of what that combines arms attack with air supporting
the ground means to this war. and i hope to see much more of it from the ukrainian air force. >> wonderful, general breedlove, there was another question for you. can you please give us the best arguments for why we should give weapons to ukraine? why we should give aid. what are the most winning arguments that could be made? >> first of all, they are fighting for values, just like our values. we all do not believe that russia can take its military force and cross internationally recognized borders at will and change the map of europe. and that's what they've done twice in ukraine and once in georgia since 08. and we don't stand for that. ukraine is a huge importance to the world and to our economies. we used to fly every rocket shot we ever flew on the ukrainian motor, we had motor seats
putting out some of the best motors out there and that's why china is trying to buy motor seats. you know this is a country people don't understand how important ukraine is to the world, not only the west and you don't have to look very much farther than the grain to see what it means to the southern half of the world. so there's a list too long to cover. but ukraine is important not only to us but to the entire world. thank you so much. unfortunately we did not make it. i have 80 more questions to get to. we're gonna have to do this again. thank you so much. general breedlove, dara mascot, vivian salama max boot and the -- andrews he -- andruzzi. if you do not follow them on twitter, get on twitter. now they are all on twitter, they are very active and they all have interesting opinions and i learned so much today from all of you. thank you for your reporting. thank you for your analysis. thank you for sharing your time with us. please keep your eye on our website and let's do this again soon.
>> this evening, former secretary of state mike pompeo and others discussed the peace accords. the richard mitnick's and foundation is the host for this versatile event, you can watch it live at 8:00 on c-span now, our free mobile video app. >> there are a lot of places to get political information. but only at c-span do you get it straight from the source. no matter where you are from or where you stand on the issues, c-span is america's network. unfiltered, unbiased, word for word if it happens here, or here, or here, or anywhere that matters, america is watching on c-span powered by cable >> we are joined on washington journal by dave leventhal, he is here with us to talk with
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