Military Expert Gives Putin's Forces 90 Days in Ukraine

Russia's military can only last about 90 more days in Ukraine before its forces and equipment become too depleted to continue, a military expert told Newsweek.

Sean Spoonts, editor-in-chief of the military news outlet SOFREP, said on Thursday Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces have already expended a sizable portion of their arsenal since the war began in late February. He also noted that Russia is facing difficulties replenishing military equipment and vehicles due to supply chain interruptions and severe economic sanctions.

After first estimating Russia has three months before it may decide it needs to cut its losses, Spoonts said that figure may be on the high side.

"I think the Russians would not be able to go much further than 90 days longer," Spoonts said. "At the bleed rate that they're going through right now, 90 days may be stretching it."

Vladimir Putin meets in the Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin's military may only be able to last 90 more days in Ukraine at the rate its losing vehicles and weapons, according to an expert from military website SOFREP. Here, Putin is seen during his meeting in Moscow's Kremlin on May 5, 2022. Photo by MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Spoonts said evidence that Russia's troop ranks and arsenal are suffering can be seen by how troops units and equipment were recently moved from Russia's border with Mongolia thousands of miles away and placed in Ukraine.

"That's desperation," he said.

Russia's military has faced large numbers of casualties in ground conflict, while its naval forces have struggled on the waters of the Black Sea. Even the country's air force, which experts felt would be a dominant factor in Russia claiming a quick victory in Ukraine, has failed to establish air superiority.

Throughout the conflict, Putin has repeatedly warned NATO about interfering, even going so far as to say "lightning fast" retaliation would come to any countries that provided Ukraine with the ability to make a strategic threat against Russia. Given the damage sustained to his forces already, Spoonts said he doesn't feel Putin could mount much of a challenge should he become engaged in combat with NATO.

"NATO would slaughter them," Spoonts said. "And they would do it mostly with air assets."

He said the U.S. could have 200 to 300 military aircraft over to strike Russia within a week. The American firepower combined with the militaries from Poland, France, Germany and the United Kingdom would give NATO a "formidable fighting force," and Russia would be "stopped cold."

"The Ukrainians did that without an air force," Spoonts said.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said during a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that he believes Putin wouldn't want a direct conflict with the powerful forces of NATO.

"If Russia decides to attack any nation that's a NATO member, then that's a game changer," Austin said in response to a question about possible Russian escalation. "But if you look at Putin's calculus, my view—and I'm sure the chairman has his own view—but my view is that Russia doesn't want to take on the NATO alliance."

Newsweek reached out to Russia's defense ministry for comment.