Retired Gen. David Petraeus believes Russia President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine is not a war he can win due to inadequate troop numbers and fierce Ukrainian resistance.
"I don't think that this is a war, ultimately, that Russia and Vladimir Putin can win," Petraeus said Wednesday in an interview with CNN. "They can take a city perhaps, but they cannot hold it."
Petraeus, a commander in U.S. insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Russia doesn't "have the numbers" and beyond that, "everyone in the entire country hates them and most of the adults are willing to take action against them, whether it's to take up weapons or to be human shields."
In addition, "you have a president who is providing Churchillian leadership, the people [are] undaunted and Ukrainian forces continue to exploit their home-field advantage."
Ukraine has defied expectations and continued to hold its capital and most of its major cities a little under a week after the Kremlin launched an incursion into the country.
Russian troops have been slow to move on Kyiv as they struggle with logistical problems such as lack of food and gas, reports of low morale, and intense resistance from Ukrainian forces, according to the Pentagon.
But Petraeus warned that as Putin grows more frustrated with his forces halting progress, it will lead Russian troops "to do more of what we have seen in the last 48 hours" and step up the severity of their attacks using more devastating weapons targeting government facilities and infrastructure such as hospitals and schools.
"They'll starve the population of Kyiv if they have to but that population I don't think is going to crack," he said.
Though Ukraine has held its ground, the conflict has still been devastating for the population, with more than 2,000 civilians killed since Thursday, with the invasion began, according to the country's emergency service.
And nearly 900,000 Ukrainians have fled the country, according to figures from the United Nations.