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The withdrawal of the Russian army from kyiv and surrounding towns – although causing many horrific civilian casualties – is essentially a victory for Ukrainians and an opportunity for the West to help them materially while Russia regroups, said a former deputy NATO commander to Fox News.
British General Sir Richard Shirreff told ‘The Story’ that while the civilian toll is huge and worrying, any withdrawal from the battlefield is categorically a victory for the remaining side.
“The Battle of kyiv was a great victory for Ukraine, and we should praise it and make a big deal of it. It was [an] absolute defeat for Russia. Any force that leaves the battlefield, withdraws, is effectively defeated and leaves the battlefield to the Ukrainians,” Shirreff said.
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He lamented the graphic images coming from nearby Bucha while adding that the Russian military proved to be somewhat strategically disorganized in that a reported regroup could take longer than expected.
“The thing is now, I think in any battle or campaign, there’s a window of opportunity,” Shirreff said. “And since the Russians have withdrawn – yes, they say they are about to launch an attack in the East. And yes, it will probably be another Russian offensive in Donbass. But until they can generate that offensive, and given the problems the Russians had in generating their initial attacks, I think we can assume it’s going to take them some time.”
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In turn, Western nations must use this pause to increase the quality and effectiveness of lethal aid to Ukrainians, the general said.
If the NATO countries are organized and effective, their support for Ukraine could very seriously harm the Russians if they attempt a new assault with the regiments now withdrawn.
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“They didn’t establish the superiority they wanted,” Shirreff said. “Obviously the only thing they could do is…pulverize, destroy, annihilate and brutalize Ukrainian cities and civilians. But this is not an army that will be able to launch an attack in the Baltic States or Poland anytime soon.”