Russia's implementation of 'artificial timeline' poses 'disastrous consequences,' expert warns

Assessing Putin’s strategy as Russian troops reposition

Dr. Rebecca Grant weighs in as Ukraine braces for new Russian offensive in the East on ‘Fox News Live.’

Russia is seemingly eager to claim victory in Ukraine as a significant day for the country approaches, however, one expert is warning of “disastrous consequences” from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s implementation of an “artificial timeline” as the Kremlin is expected to escalate its invasion.


Describing a retreat in which Putin “gradually ends the active combat phase of the conflict” in order to achieve his goal and finish what he started, Rebekah Koffler, a former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officer, and the author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” told Fox News Digital that Putin’s plan to insert politics into his war with Ukraine and establishing a timeline for completion will likely yield a negative outcome.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a cabinet meeting via videoconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

May 9, the day Russia celebrates victory over Germany in World War II, is a date by which Putin is said to feel pressure to achieve some sort of victory in Ukraine.

“Putin has introduced an artificial timeline to end his war on Ukraine by May 9, an extremely significant holiday in Russia, culturally – Soviet Army’s victory over Nazi Germany,” Koffler said. “This year marks the 77th anniversary of the German forces’ defeat in World War II. Inserting politics into military strategy is always fraught with disastrous consequences.”

Providing an example, the former intelligence officer said President Biden “learned it the hard way when he rushed US forces” to withdraw from Afghanistan in an effort to “claim victory before the anniversary of September 11th terrorist attacks on our homeland.”

Koffler insisted that Putin’s decision to assign Gen. Alexander Dvornikov as the new commander to lead operations in Ukraine take’s Russia’s military strategy from “siege warfare to scorched earth.”

Differentiating between the two tactics, Koffler said siege warfare “focuses on [the] blockade of cities and brutal tactics against civilians with the intent of conquering by attrition and compelling the opposing side to settle for peace on terms favorable to Russia in order to end the suffering of civilians.”

Oleg Mezhiritsky stands outside his house, damaged after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Friday.  
(AP/Felipe Dana)

Scorched earth, Koffler noted, is “associated with the retreat of armed forces.” The main objective of the scorched earth tactic is to destroy “key military, command and control, and vital infrastructure targets of the adversary that are critical for its functioning and survival,” she said.

The retreating force, she warned, will destroy anything that can be destroyed, including food, supplies, fuel, and transportation.

Regarding Dvornikov, Koffler said the new general overseeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “extensive experience waging bloody war in Syria” and is “known for his brutal tactics in Aleppo.”

Dvornikov gained prominence as head of Russian forces that Moscow deployed to Syria in 2015 to shore up President Bashar Assad’s regime amid the country’s devastating civil war.

“Putin wants Dvornikov to make the last push and bring the conflict to an end in Ukraine, at least the ‘hot’ phase of it, before transforming it into a ‘frozen’ conflict,” Koffler said. “Putin wants Dvornikov to leave a deep psychological scar on the Ukrainian population to deter other post-Soviet states who might be thinking of joining the Western camp.”

A monument to Taras Shevchenko, a Ukrainian poet and a national symbol, in seen with traces of bullets against the background of an apartment house ruined in the Russian shelling in the central square in Borodyanka, Ukraine, Wednesday, Apr. 6, 2022.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

“The risk of uncontrollable escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is at its highest level now during the 45th day of Putin’s war on Ukraine,” she added. In addition, Koffler said the Kremlin is “pre-disposed for the worst-case scenario mental framework” and “primed to misinterpret the US-Poland military exercises – that are defensive in nature – as offensive and possibly a pre-cursor to the US/NATO intervention in the conflict as active combatants on behalf of Ukraine.”

“This exercise, combined with the ‘war criminal, regime change’ narrative by U.S. and Western leaders, including the recent call of former Deputy NATO Chief Sir Richard Shirreff that “the Alliance must be ready for war with Russia,’ frightens Putin,” Koffler said. “This is one of the reasons that he is ready to retreat but will wreak havoc as he is doing so.”

Fox News’ Stephen Sorace and Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this article.

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