Newsnight: ‘Frailties in Russian army’ exposed by former US adviser – ‘Flawed assumptions’ | World | News

Appearing on BBC Newsnight on Thursday evening, Former US National Security Adviser General HR McMaster warned Putin may have underestimated the defending force. He also explained how the Russian president began the invasion of Ukraine with “flawed assumptions” while he praised the Ukrainian people for showing a full show of strength.

He said: “I think Russians, Putin in particular, began this operation under fundamentally flawed assumptions.

“I think he thought it’s going to be quite easy based on, really, a misunderstanding of the will of the Ukrainian people first, and we have seen such inspirational, so many counts of inspirational examples of Ukrainians determined to defend their country.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been applauded globally for standing against the Russian leader as aerial bombings continued on Ukraine.

The security adviser continued: “Maybe he thought the Ukrainian leader was not as strong, he maybe viewed him as a comedian or a ballroom dancer instead of the judo master that Putin likes to view himself as but he certainly underestimated President Zelensky.

“And he underestimated the Ukrainian military, which has improved considerably since 2014 especially with the provision of defensive capabilities and I want to thank the UK leadership for really taking the lead in the emergency supplies of some of those defensive capabilities.

“I think he thought it would be easy and I think we are seeing some real frailties in the Russian army as well.”

Meanwhile, Zelensky said that the first wave of foreign fighters has arrived to assist Ukraine.

In a video address posted on Facebook Thursday, he said: “Ukraine is already greeting foreign volunteers. [The] first 16,000 are already on their way to protect freedom and life for us, and for all.”

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Zelensky announced a plan to rebuild the country after the war, saying a program has been set up to assist Ukrainians who have lost jobs and promised that all pensions will be paid.

He said: “Ukrainians in all regions burnt by war are receiving everything necessary. Coordinating headquarters are working in full, real humanitarian cargos are on their way.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Security Council meeting that his so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine was “on track”, and insisted that Russians and Ukrainians were one people.

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