Former army chief: Russia strategically “missed the target” on all points of its war plan against Ukraine

Old woman at the train station in Kyiv. Photo Pryadko Denys UNIAN

When news reached Lithuania early Friday morning that the Zaporozhe nuclear power plant in Zaporozhe, the most powerful in Europe, on the banks of the Dnieper River in south-eastern Ukraine, had been shelled by the occupying Russian forces, it was said that this could be a pretext for NATO to take up arms against Russia, Birutė Vyšniauskaitė writes in

To find out whether this is how this sinister event in Zaporozhian could be viewed and when NATO’s Article 5 would be activated, the portal talked to the former commander of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, retired Major General Valdas Tutkus.

Later, specialists reported that the Russians had shelled the administrative building of the Zaporizhya power plant. However, the fire did not spread throughout the plant and did not damage the powerful reactors. Russian troops were soon reported to be in control of the plant, but the Ukrainian army regained control on the night of 5 March.

However, could this fire signal that the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin may start bombing even Ukrainian nuclear power stations? Should not the whole world mobilise even more to stop this madness? Perhaps it is time for the most radical solutions from the former head of state, Dalia Grybauskaitė?

“I am following the situation in Ukraine closely. I would not claim that Russia has achieved any major victories since the invasion on 24 February. It has significantly besieged but not captured either Kharkiv or Kyiv. Of course, the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant situation was very worrying”, Tutkus said.

– What do you think, was the shelling accidental or have the Russians already gone completely mad?

– They started the madness in Ukraine both in 2014 and on 24 February this year. Why was I mistaken in thinking that Mr Putin would not launch an all-out war against Ukraine? Because I was trying to rely on common sense, logical thinking and an assessment of the situation even before 24 February. There was no reason for such a terrible war. Now we can see that the Russian authorities do not use common sense.

The fact that Kharkiv or Mariupol was bombed in this way is sheer madness. Judging by this, it is equally insane to bomb Europe’s most powerful nuclear power plant. That is why this Russian madness must be stopped as soon as possible.

– As is now becoming clear, Russia has been preparing for this insane war in Ukraine for half a year, if not for a year. It would be hard to believe that the Russians do not know where the nuclear power stations are in Ukraine. After all, if they blew them up, they would blow up and wipe almost the whole of Russia off the face of the earth.

– Ukraine was part of the USSR, so Russia has absolutely precise coordinates for all its strategic and most vulnerable facilities. This is evidenced by the fact that all Ukrainian airports were immediately bombed at the beginning of the war.

On the other hand, Russia has strategically ‘hit the ground running on all points of its war plan against Ukraine. First of all, there was a terrible miscalculation in assessing the army’s capabilities. As a result, they are much stronger than the Russians thought. “It was also a ‘foolish’ failure to appreciate how high the moral motivation of the Ukrainian military forces is, not to mention how Putin miscalculated in thinking that there would be no Western reaction to the barbaric war. It is hard to find an area where he has not ‘scratched the surface.

Most likely, Putin and his Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, are now seeing for themselves that they have not hit the mark once, but they are still intent on the occupation of the whole of Ukraine and the overthrow of its government. But will they not ‘ask’ again?

– Why do you think that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reassured the nation almost right up to the start of the war that there would be no such broad war?

-Apparently, he and the experts who advised him, like many politicians and military men worldwide, tried to use common sense. After all, the Russian military forces that were massed on the borders of Ukraine before the war started were certainly not enough for a serious war. Unfortunately, today’s results only confirm this: not a single serious town has been taken, and the Russians are fighting on the side of hungry nineteen-year-olds who are not properly prepared for war.

– Could it be that NATO will intervene in the war between Russia and Ukraine after all?

– I would think that the only way it could do so would be if nuclear weapons were used against Ukraine. In that case, Russia would have already crossed a red line.

I do not doubt that NATO is well aware that there would be a third world war to enter Ukrainian territory because it would have to fight against Russia. Then an inhumanly large military force would already be deployed.

– What do you make of the speeches by the former Head of State, Mrs Grybauskaitė, that only war could stop the war? She said that NATO should already be involved in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

– I take a very negative view of such speeches and calls. However, I would doubt that Mrs Grybauskaitė does not understand that if NATO forces enter Ukraine and go to war with Russia, there will not be, as I have already said, a third world war.

It would be naive to expect that it would be without nuclear weapons and that there would be anything left in its wake. We would certainly not all live much longer. After all, NATO’s military capabilities are several times bigger and stronger than Russia’s.

– In the event of an emergency, both Lithuania and the other Baltic countries would be waiting for Article 5 of the Treaty with NATO to be activated, which would require the Alliance to defend a country attacked by an enemy. Would that article be started if Russia dared to attack the Baltic countries?

– I have no doubt whatsoever. After all, NATO is already reacting to the imminent dangers to the Baltic States, activating NATO’s rapid reaction force and defence plans, which means that serious preparations are being made for Article 5 of the Agreement.

– Could any member of the Alliance object to Article 5, despite the fact that any country would be seriously endangered?

– Yes, because all NATO decisions are taken by consensus.

– Suppose Lithuania was threatened with war, and a NATO member country thought it was not yet time to take Article 5 defence measures. What would you do then?

– One could also refer to the US-Lithuania Partnership Charter, which Latvia and Estonia also signed in 1998.
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