The Ukraine war 'can still get worse for Putin and Russia,' says retired US Gen. Petraeus

Petraeus Putin
Ret. Gen. David Petraeus, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.Gabriel Aponte/Getty Images for Concordia Americas Summit; Contributor/Getty Images
  • Retired Gen. David Petraeus said the Ukraine war can still get worse for Putin.

  • Petraeus cited a fresh round of sanctions as proof that the West has more leverage to use against Russia.

  • The sanctions target Russian lawmakers and companies linked to Russia's arms supply.

The war in Ukraine can still get worse for Putin and Russia, retired Gen. David Petraeus said on Sunday.

Speaking on the ABC News program "This Week," Petraeus said Russia's losses have been "staggering" and that his losses on the battlefield are going to continue.

He cited the West's reaction to Vladimir Putin's annexation of four regions of Ukraine — Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk — which collectively make up around 15% of Ukraine's total territory. Putin's declaration came after sham referendums organized by pro-Russian separatists were held in the four Russian-occupied regions.

"And of course, by the way, in response to this annexation, Russia got hit by 1,000 more individual personal and other sanctions, showing that the West still has more that can be done to Russia," Petraeus said. The retired general was referring to the fresh slate of US sanctions on Russia that were announced on Friday. The sanctions target Russian lawmakers and companies linked to Russia's arms supply.

"It can still get worse for Putin and for Russia. And even the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield won't change this at all," he added.

He noted that the threat of nuclear force from Putin needs to be taken "seriously."

In a separate radio interview on WABC with New York businessman John Catsimatidis, Petraeus said he thought Putin was in a "very dire" and "irreversibly desperate" state in Ukraine.

"The bottom line is Ukraine has done vastly better than Russia has in mobilizing its capabilities in recruiting, training, equipping, help by the US and NATO nations big time, organizing, and employing additional forces and capabilities," Petraeus told Catsimatidis, calling the current state of Russia's military position a "stark reality."

Petraeus retired from the military in August 2011 to serve as the director of the CIA from September 2011 to November 2012. He resigned after just over a year in the role after his extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, was uncovered during an FBI investigation. He is now a partner at the KKR Global Institute, the research wing of investment company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

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