(NewsNation Now) — A retired U.S. lieutenant general says Ukrainian forces are “not a match” for the Russian army after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on state television he has authorized military operations in Ukraine.
“I believe there will be casualties, significant casualties certainly on the Ukraine side, but also on the Russian side ,as well.” retired Lt. Gen. Richard Newton said Wednesday on “NewsNation Prime.”
In a televised address, Putin said the action is in response to threats coming from Ukraine.
“It is absolutely no coincidence that the U.N. Security Council is meeting in emergency session at this very moment that Putin would also announce to the Russian people that he’s in position,” Newton said.
Newton said the worst case scenario would involve Putin attacking from all three sides he has surrounded and simultaneously conducting a cyberattack.
After that, Newton would expect an extensive air attack followed by ballistic missiles and rockets.
Another worst case scenario would involve Russian troops moving from Belarus to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.
“It does mean that the Russian forces are in attack position,” Newton said. “Those forces in Belarus are very, very honed, and on edge right now, because they’ve come off a 10-11 day exercise, which puts them into a perfect position with momentum to come down to Kyiv.”
Under daylight, Newton would expect to see paratroops “dropping into key nodes” and special operations forces.
“Those will be the forces that will be responsible for taking certain key citizens within Ukraine, within the government and also civilian sector and they’re on the kill list and/or on the concentration camp list,” Newton said. “It’s a … very bad picture that I’m painting here. But unfortunately, hope is not a strategy here.”
Putin said that Russia doesn’t have a goal of occupying Ukraine. He also said the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime.”
“It’s one thing to invade Ukraine; it’s another thing to hold the ground because Ukrainian people are among the hardest people in the world,” Newton said.
Even so, Newton doesn’t believe Ukrainian forces are a match.
“Putin holds all the cards,” Newton said.