Fri, 08 Dec 2023

Former CIA chief: Russia 'surprisingly unprofessional'

Robert Besser
23 Mar 2022, 07:36 GMT+10

WASHINGTON D.C.: In an interview with CNN, retired Gen. David Petraeus, former U.S. CIA director, said it is "not entirely" surprising to see Russian military forces encounter difficulties while invading Ukraine, adding that the Russians are "surprisingly unprofessional."

A former Central Intelligence Agency director who led the 101st Airborne Division during the War in Iraq in 2003 and commanded US forces in Afghanistan, Petraeus said Ukrainian resistance has impeded Moscow's plans for a quick occupation, noting that Ukrainians have been relentless in their attempts to protect their country.

"There are many reasons for the Russians' abysmal performance. They are fighting against a very determined, quite capable Ukrainian force that is composed of special ops, conventional forces, territorial forces and even private citizens, all of whom are determined not to allow Russia to achieve its objectives," he told CNN.

Describing Russian forces, he added, "They clearly have very poor standards, when it comes to performing basic tactical tasks, such as achieving combined arms operations involving armor, infantry, engineers, artillery and mortars. They are very poor at maintaining their vehicles and weapon systems and have abandoned many of them. They are also poor at resupply and logistical tasks."

"We have known for decades that the Soviet system, now the Russian system, has always lacked one of the key strengths of U.S. and Western militaries, which is a strong, professional non-commissioned officer corps," he added.

Russia's weaponry paled in comparison to the tools available to by the U.S. military, Petraeus stressed, adding, "The Russians just have relatively unimpressive equipment, given the investment supposedly made over the past decade or so. They certainly don't have equipment comparable to what the U.S. has."

Also, Russia's precision munitions have not been accurate, and Russia has not managed to cut off Ukrainian airport runways after initially invading the country, similar to what the U.S. did after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he said.

"We can also see this with the sheer frequency of the Russians hitting civilian infrastructure, like the hospital in Mariupol, other medical facilities and the government center in Kharkiv," Petraeus told CNN.

Russia's cyberwarfare capacity has also been "unimpressive," he said, adding that its has "been unable to take down the Ukrainian command and control system."

Petraeus stressed that Russia underestimated the requirements for controlling Kyiv and replacing the Ukrainian government with a puppet regime.

"In every single area of evaluation, the Russians, starting with their intelligence assessments and understanding of the battlefield and their adversary, and then every aspect of the campaign, all the way down to small unit operations, have proved woefully inadequate," he added.

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