Former US Army Europe Commanding General Ben Hodges warned the West need to “be prepared for the collapse of Russia” as he explained Russia’s key pillars of industry, energy and arms exports, are starting to suffer amid the invasion of Ukraine. Referring to the war in Ukraine and Russian casualties recorded since the beginning of the war, he added that the vast majority of deaths come from areas outside of Moscow and St Petersburg and argued the Russian population out in Siberia or in other areas far from the capital such as Chechnya “may see opportunity to break away” from the Russian Federation. Referring to NATO and the West, he urged the alliance to keep supporting Ukraine in its counter offensive campaign and to start building up “a strategy for the whole Black Sea region” both economically and militarily.
General Ben Hodges told Times Radio host Ayesha Hazarika: “We may be looking at the beginning of the collapse of the Russian Federation as it is over the next four or five years, the military has been exposed, the massive amounts of corruption are going to become increasingly intolerable for Russian citizens.”
He explained: “Their two key pillars of the their industry, energy export and arms export, are going to be suffering.
“It’s a population that is not truly ethic Russian, there’s 120 different ethnic groups out there and most of these other ethic groups are paying the price for Putin’s war.
“The vast majority of casualties come from well outside of Moscow to St Petersburg and I think people out in Tuva and Siberia or in Chechnya and others may see opportunity to break away.
“The collective we, the West, need to be thinking about what are the implications for this? We were not prepared for the collapse of the Soviet Union, we need to be prepared for this possibility.”
Ms Hazarika asked General Hodges: “What is it that the NATO and the West need to keep doing right now? What is the most important thing for the West to do?”
He responded: “Three things.
“Number one, we have got to maintain our unity together that there will be pressure on all out governments because of energy prices and things in the coming months. We’ve got to stick together.