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Putin Knows He Made 'Mistake' With Ukraine, Will Never Admit It: Stavridis

Newsweek logo Newsweek 8/14/2022 Xander Landen
Russian President Vladimir Putin "realizes he's made a mistake" with the invasion of Ukraine, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said Sunday. Above, Putin (R) and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) seen aboard of the boat during the Navy Day military ships on Russia's Navy Day on July 31. © Contributor Russian President Vladimir Putin "realizes he's made a mistake" with the invasion of Ukraine, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said Sunday. Above, Putin (R) and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) seen aboard of the boat during the Navy Day military ships on Russia's Navy Day on July 31.

Russian President Vladimir Putin "realizes he's made a mistake" with his invasion of Ukraine, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said Sunday during The Cats Roundtable radio show on WABC 770 AM.

"Has Putin realized he made a mistake or does he still think he did the right thing?" host John Catsimatidis asked the former NATO leader.

"I think in the dark, quiet hours at two o'clock in the morning when he wakes up, he realizes he's made a mistake. Publicly, he'll never at admit that. Never. He'll continue to maintain this fiction that Ukraine is run by 'neo-Nazis.' Ridiculous, obviously," Stavridis responded.

"Putin will maintain that NATO has somehow pushed him into this corner, this conflict. Everything that has happened is of Vladimir Putin's doing to include the invasion, the sanctions that have followed, the military pushback. I think he knows it in his heart, he'll never admit it publicly," he continued.

Stavridis was also asked when he thinks that war would conclude. He said both sides are at least six months away from coming up with a solution. However, he said what's "driving us toward a negotiation" are the "difficulties Putin is facing as he burns through troops," and the destruction of Russian military equipment.

"He is burning through capability. I'd say, six months from now he's going to be in very dire straits," the former NATO leader said of Putin. "On the other side of the battlefield, Zelensky has to recognize that the patience of the West and the continued flow of cash and weapons is not infinite. I think both those factors will ultimately drive the sides to come to some kind of negotiation..."

Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment.

In an interview last month, Stavridis said he believed the Russia-Ukraine war would likely end in four to six months, and have a conclusion similar to the Korean War.

"I see this one headed toward a Korean War ending, which is to say an armistice, a militarized zone between the two sides, ongoing animosity, kind of a frozen conflict. Look for that in a four- to six-month period. Neither side can sustain it much beyond that," he said at the time.

In an interview last week, Kurt Volker, a distinguished fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) and former U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations, said he believed Russia is in a "weak position" position in the war, citing military losses and political isolation.

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