Russian invasion ‘could extend beyond Ukraine but NATO involvement would help Putin’ – World News


Air Marshal Edward Stringer, a former Director of Operations at the Ministry of Defense said that world leaders like Joe Biden were well aware of the possibility the war in Ukraine could expand beyond the nation’s borders

Air Marshal Edward Stringer, a former Director of Operations at the Ministry of DefenseAir Marshal Edward Stringer, a former Director of Operations at the Ministry of Defense
The former airman in 2017

There is a “realistic possibility” that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent war could spill beyond the country’s borders, a military expert has warned.

Air Marshal Edward Stringer, a previous Director of Operations at the Ministry of Defense, said that world leaders like US President Joe Biden were well aware that the war could extend to other countries.

He told the Mirror: “It is a realistic possibility. If it wasn’t a realistic possibility then President Biden wouldn’t be so hard and circumspect in his language.

“As have all the other NATO senior politicians, because they know it is a realistic possibility.”

However, he warned that, while the military involvement of NATO or other forces may be what many Ukrainians are calling for right now, “to some extent it may help Putin”.

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Air Marshal Edward Stringeri is a former Director of Operations at the Ministry of Defense


Ministry of Defence)

The former airman pointed out that Putin’s justification for war was built around the false narrative of western aggression.

If NATO did step into the conflict, he said it could serve as a rallying point for the dictator in an otherwise failing invasion.

He added: “It would really help Putin, if NATO now charged in as NATO because he would turn to his own population, and Putin could say ‘ta-da, I told you so’.

“Then he will mobilize Russian society.”

He added at that point, top to bottom of society, even those who could see his original invasion plan failed, could get behind the leader he described as a “zero sum game autocrat”.

Damaged residential buildings in Mariupol – cities like this were new targets for heavy shelling after Russia realized it could not take them easily



However, even whilst there were clear risks he said for NATO involvement, he cautioned “there will come to a point where the international community will have to say we cannot put up with this”.

He warned cities like Mariupol, one of the worst affected by Russian bombing and shelling, would end up like Grozny, the Chechnen capital that was razed by Russian forces at the turn of the millennia.

“Everyone’s seen the pictures of Mariupol, that’s going to be Grozny shortly. Mariupol was a peaceful quite pleasant port on the sea,” he said.

“Kyiv, a properly historic European city, if they are turned into Grozny, there will come a point when not NATO but the international community will have to say we cannot put up with us.”

Firemen work to clear the rubble and extinguish a fire by a heavily damaged building after a Russian rocket exploded just outside it in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv


AFP via Getty Images)

At that point he warned the international community would have to consider getting involved to prevent further decimation and destruction.

But that it would have to be done under the auspices of the international community, and not NATO.

Despite this, he added to the growing crowd of voices calling into question Russian battle plans so far and outwardly lambasting the Kremlin’s tactics.

“Moscow seems to have no other battle plan now, other than to essentially execute continual war crimes whilst terrorizing the population and flattening cities until they give in or pressurize their president,” he said.

The former head of operations at the MoD warned there is a chance Ukrainian cities could end up like the infamous Chechen capital


Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

He added that: “At the moment, Putin’s presided over one hell of a mess. Russia now seems to be bombarding cities around the periphery to take major cities and vital ground such as Odessa and Kyiv, or the land corridor between Russia, Crimea and the Donbas, to hold almost as bargaining chips to negotiate with Zelensky.

“He’s now bombarding populations because he hasn’t gotten the force to take those cities.

“That is a million miles away, in only two weeks, from Plan A, which was lightning raids to remove the Zelensky government, replace it and turn the whole of Ukraine into a client state.

“They’ve not removed the government, they’re now having to negotiate with it.”

Because of this ineptitude on show, the former MOD director called into question the apparent awe and fear with which many in the west hold Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has overseen a ‘disastrous’ plan A invasion Edward Stringer said


Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

He said: “It’s axiomatic into the 90s and 00s that Russia was a basket case, they couldn’t look after their nuclear submarines, they were literally rotting.

“But all it takes is Putin to spend a bit more money and introduce a nominal culture of professionalism and suddenly they’re 10ft tall, very clever cyberwarriors.”

He said it was “pretty incredible” that a country with GDP the size of Spain’s, less than Italy’s, can turn itself into a military superpower overnight and drop the entire corruption that defined the late-Soviet and post-Soviet era.

Recent intelligence has suggested that most of Putin’s spending has been on things that will allow the Russian strongman to look tough in peacetime.

He added: “His submarines prowl around the North Atlantic in a way they haven’t done since 1989, and they are high quality submarines and suddenly every western navy is spooked.

“His special forces go to Syria and other places, in environments where they look quite good.

“Cyber ​​hackers? Well fine, any country that lets loose its most talented and imaginative criminals and gives them license will be able to create trouble anywhere in the world.”

But behind the flashy buys, Russia hadn’t, in a few decades, become a deeply resourced, well run military capable of global domination, he added.

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