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Ex-NATO commander: Loss of top Russian officers amid invasion unprecedented in modern history

Retired Adm. James Stavridis, former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, claims that the Russian military’s “amazing incompetence” in Ukraine has resulted in a loss of generals and other top officers that is unprecedented in modern history.

“In modern history, there is no situation comparable in terms of the deaths of generals. … Here, on the Russian side, in a two-month period, we’ve seen at least a dozen, if not more, Russian generals killed,” Stavridis told John Catsimatidis on WABC 770 AM in an interview that aired Sunday.

For comparison, Stavridis cited recent American conflicts, saying that “not a single general was lost in actual combat” in the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“It’s not just the generals being killed,” said Stavridis of the Russian military, additionally noting “their inability to conduct logistics,” “bad battle plan” and “loss of their flagship at sea.”

“It’s been a bad performance by the Russians thus far,” Stavridis said.

Russian generals and top military personnel who have reportedly been killed in the invasion include deputy commander of the 8th Army Maj. Gen. Vladimir Petrovich Frolov, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District Andrei Sukhovetsky, Maj. Gen. Vitaly GerasimovLt. Gen Yakov Rezantsev and Col. Sergei Sukharev, commander of the elite 331st Guards Airborne Regiment.

In addition to slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin for military “incompetence,” the former commander also accused him of unleashing war crimes on Ukraine, beginning with “the illegal invasion of a neighbor and a democracy” and including “massacring” civilians, destroying cities and “using rape as a weapon of war.”

Stavridis said Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, who Russia last month put in charge of its invasion of Ukraine, is “well known to Western intelligence as the ‘Butcher of Syria.’”

Dvornikov commanded Russian forces in Syria for a year beginning in 2015. Western officials and human rights organizations condemned tactics employed there under Dvornikov’s command.

Stavridis added that “Vladimir Putin is creating the expansion of NATO by his unwarranted attack on a neighbor,” saying that “more nations may join NATO as a result of this, notably Sweden and Finland, which [have] very capable militaries.”

“It’s not just the NATO alliance. It’s the democracies around the world,” Stavridis added, citing Japan as one of the powerful non-NATO countries in opposition to Russia.

The former commander also condemned Indonesia for inviting Putin to the November Group of 20 (G-20) summit, which the country is hosting. Putin has accepted the invitation, according to Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

“The United States and other members of the G-20 are going to have to come together and decide whether they want to attend — whether they will walk out when Vladimir Putin walks in. There is no reason to be in a room with Vladimir Putin,” Stavridis said.

Widodo said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also accepted an invitation to the summit.

Tags james stavridis NATO Russia Russia-Ukraine conflict Sergei Sukharev Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelensky

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