NATO commander fearmongers about Russia, urges more military spending
The chief of NATO's Military Committee says it is believed Russia will regain its military capabilities within years.
Ukraine's counteroffensive should not be judged based on its pace nor should it be deemed a disappointment considering how difficult it is and the heavy Russian defenses deployed in the country, the head of NATO's Military Committee told reporters on Monday.
"The counteroffensive, it is difficult. People should never think that this is an easy walkover," Admiral Rob Bauer said.
"There's a considerable number of Russians in Ukraine. There are considerable defensive obstacles," he said, in an attempt to downplay the failure to achieve any major advance yet.
Kiev and other Western officials and experts admitted earlier that the operation did not reach the expectations level despite having been hyped for months and the substantial level of military and financial backing offered to Ukraine by its allies.
"It is not a surprise that it [counteroffensive] is not going fast," Bauer added.
"We should not comment on Ukraine like they should go faster or it's disappointing they're not going fast. It is extremely difficult, this type of operation."
Commanders in the Ukrainian army were right to be "cautious" and look for weaknesses in Russia's defense lines, the admiral claimed, noting that Ukraine's forces would have suffered major losses in case of a full-on offense.
Bauer stressed that NATO believes Russia's army would "bounce back" from the losses it took in Ukraine and would rebuild itself in the next years.
"We will continue to look at them as a serious threat," he said.
"They might not be 11 feet tall, but they're certainly not two feet tall."
The Military Committee Chief further claimed that the coalition could take a breathing space as it will take Moscow "a considerable number of years" to regain its pre-war power and capabilities.
But for now, Bauer confirmed that NATO members must continue to support Ukraine through all means necessary.
"If Ukraine loses that war, and that is not the end of instability. That is the start of more instability," he cautioned.
The Admiral noted that reinforcing NATO's posture "costs money" and that delays in increasing military spending will slow this process.
He said bulking up NATO's posture "costs money" and has previously warned that delays to boosting military spending could slow that down.
Kiev has been pushing for the approval of its NATO application lately as it considers that it can spearhead the war coalition's efforts to corner Russia. But such a decision requires a unanimous vote, which is currently very far-fetched.
However, Ukraine is betting that it will receive more and accelerated military assistance during the upcoming NATO summit in Lithuania scheduled between 11-13 July.
Western media and officials warned earlier that Kiev's counteroffensive did not meet expectations and that Ukrainian forces are underperforming compared to the Russian army.
Meanwhile, Pulitzer Prize-winning US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh warned last month that Ukraine's counteroffensive would not bring any good to Kiev, the United States, or NATO.
In an interview he gave to George Galloway, Hersh explained how "this [counteroffensive] isn't going to be good for Ukraine, it's not going to be good for NATO, it's certainly not going to be good for the Biden administration."
The journalist explained that the Ukrainian army is comprised of "so many disparate groups," comparable to 15 different dance teams that suddenly are forced to organize a routine together after practicing alone for a very long.
In a more recent report, Hersh said the US should consider Kiev's failure to cross over Russian defense lines as a “wake-up call”.
An informed official told famed journalist Hersh that "it would take [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky's military 117 years" to reassert Kiev's power over the lands which Russia now controls; which is approximately a surface area of 40,000 square miles.
The journalist stated that in the two weeks prior, the Ukrainian military had only captured 44 miles of terrain, the majority of which was open country situated before the first of Russia's multilayered defense lines.
Hersh urged US President Joe Biden to finally acknowledge, publicly, that “the estimated more than $150 billion that his administration has put up [to arming Ukraine] thus far turned out to be a very bad investment,” before adding that the “looming disaster in Ukraine… should be a wake-up call” for Washington lawmakers.