NATO to Be Drawn Into Ukraine War if Russia Goes 'Scorched Earth': Admiral

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said Thursday that if Russia deployed a "scorched earth" policy in Ukraine it "would almost certainly draw NATO into the fight."

Stavridis' comments came after the Daily Beast reported that members of Russian state media are proposing violent reactions as the Russian military faces defeats amid Ukraine's push to retake territory in the country.

The Daily Beast noted that Russia's state media has pushed for "scorched earth" in the wake of the defeats. According to the outlet, Russian military expert Igor Korotchenko said during a state television broadcast Wednesday that Russia "should be acting quickly, harshly and uncompromisingly."

"First of all, we need to scale up our strikes against critical infrastructure in such a way that one region after the next, one district after another, Ukraine is plunged into darkness," Korotchenko said.

NATO Could be Drawn Into Ukraine: Admiral
Russian servicemen are seen by the side of a road in Ukraine's Kherson region on May 19 amid the ongoing Russian military action. Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said Thursday that if Russia deployed a "scorched earth" policy in Ukraine, it "would almost certainly draw NATO into the fight." Olga Maltseva

Retweeting Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis, who shared the reporting on Twitter, Stavridis wrote: "A 'scorched earth' policy which plunges Ukraine into 'darkness' is also known as a 'massive war crime.' This course of action would almost certainly draw NATO into the fight with a no-fly zone. Bad idea Vladimir."

Newsweek has reached out to Russia's foreign and defense ministries for comment.

NATO has so far refused to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and has raised the concern that doing so could spread the war further.

"The only way to implement a no-fly zone is to send NATO fighter planes into Ukrainian airspace and then impose that no-fly zone by shooting down Russian planes," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at the beginning of the Ukraine-Russia war, adding that doing so could result in "something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe."

In an interview on New York radio station WABC in August, Stavridis said he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin knows "he's made a mistake" with Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Publicly, he'll never admit that. Never. He'll continue to maintain this fiction that Ukraine is run by 'neo-Nazis.' Ridiculous, obviously," Stavridis said.

The former NATO commander also previously blasted the Russian military's "amazing incompetence" by noting that several Russian generals have been lost since the beginning of the invasion.

"In modern history, there is no situation comparable in terms of the deaths of generals," Stavridis said during another interview on WABC in May.

"Just to make a point of comparison here, the United States, in all of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq...in all of those years and all of those battles, not a single general lost in actual combat," he said.