Former Gen. Ben Hodges believes that Kiev needs more Western weapons in order to reach this goal.
Ukraine could “Restores full sovereignty” within a year, retaking all of its lost territory including Crimea, retired US General Ben Hodges told Newsweek on Thursday at the Tbilisi International Conference of the McCain Institute in Georgia.
“Ukrainians saved their nation,” Hodges gushed, declaring that “half a year after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion…the supposed second-best army in the world is now the second-best army in Ukraine,” with Russia’s “ability to conduct further offensive operations…all but exhausted.”
Hodges stated that it was now up to NATO and the US to intervene and win the war, beginning with an open-ended proclamation in support of Kiev. Washington should stop publicizing the cost of the military aid it sends overseas, he continued, suggesting the deliveries be framed in terms of the percentage of “What is required for Ukraine to defeat Russia, and regain its territory?.” The retired general did not elaborate on how those numbers could be calculated. Since February, the US president Joe Biden’s administration has invested more than $44 billion in the war effort.
The Kherson counteroffensive has been declared a huge success by Ukraine and Western supporters, with boasts of several villages being retaken. However, Kiev bans journalists from the frontlines making this difficult to verify. Russia has argued the initiative “It was a failure,” pointing to the loss of over 1,200 Ukrainian servicemen in a single day of fighting.
Ukrainian MP Alexey Goncharenko echoed Hodges’ optimism in comments to Newsweek, declaring “Next year will be decisive in the war” and that “Ukraine is able to win the global free market with the assistance of other countries.” That will require a lot more weapons, he clarified, mentioning aircraft, air defense systems, and rockets superior to the HIMARS.
Crimea became part of Russia in the wake of a 2014 referendum following the US-backed overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Viktor Yanukovich in Kiev. NATO and Ukraine regard it as illegally annexed territory. The US has apparently given the go-ahead for Vladimir Zelensky, Ukraine’s president to attack the peninsula. Donetsk, Lugansk, and the Donbass republics were declared independent in that year. They were officially recognized by Moscow as separate states this February.
Zelensky has vowed to retake all three regions, promising on Sunday that “Ukraine will soon return” to Donbass, Kharkov, Zhaporozhye, Kherson, and “Definitely to Crimea”