'NATO's Been Defeated' By Russia in Ukraine, British Ex-General Says

A retired UK army general has said Russia has "defeated" the NATO military alliance through the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and urged countries to develop "a defensive counter-strategy" against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

General Sir Nick Parker, who served as commander of British land forces, told BBC Radio 4's Today program on Thursday that Russia had called NATO's "bluff" by launching an attack on its neighbor.

His comments come as the UK Ministry of Defence warned they expect "heavy fighting" in the suburbs of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, despite Russia withdrawing some of its forces, while shelling and missile attacks have continued in the Chernihiv region.

"Slightly controversially I suppose, NATO's been defeated, NATO's bluff was called," Parker said on Thursday morning.

"We were unable to stop the Russians trampling all over Ukraine and now NATO is holding the line of the 2004 expansion, along the line of the Baltic states and Poland and Hungary and Romania," the retired general said.

"And what it has to do is to defend that line, it's in what in military terms we would call a defensive position," he went on. "And I don't think it has the capacity to move on to the offensive with its 30 nations all with slightly different views."

"We need to have a smaller coalition of nations who can start to develop an offensive counter-strategy to Putin," Parker said.

Formed in 1949 with the signing of the Washington Treaty, NATO is a security alliance of 30 countries from North America and Europe, with a "goal to safeguard the Allies' freedom and security by political and military means," stated its website.

Its charter adds that an "attack against one Ally is an attack against all," embodying a "promise of collective defense."

Newsweek has asked NATO for comment.

NATO is not directly involved in the ongoing conflict and the military alliance has refused to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine because of concerns over a direct clash with Russian forces.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously called for a NATO no-fly zone and strongly criticized the organization's refusal to impose one.

However, the U.S. and its NATO allies have provided Ukraine with humanitarian and military aid, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, as well as imposing harsh sanctions on Russia.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now in its fifth week and Russia has been accused of breaking a promise to scale back its military activities around Kyiv and Chernihiv.

Russia agreed on Wednesday to halt the fighting around the southeastern port city of Mariupol to allow civilians to evacuate through a humanitarian corridor, and Ukraine's deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Thursday that her country was sending 45 buses to the city from Zaporizhzhia, about 136 miles away.

In a video posted to Telegram, Verschchuk said 17 buses had already been sent and added: "We will do everything possible to ensure that buses arrive in Mariupol today and pick up people who have not yet been able to get out of the city."

General Nick Parker Pictured in 2012
Nick Parker, then Commander-in-Chief of Land Forces, pictured during a visit to RAF Waddington, on February 29, 2012 in Lincoln, England. Parker has said NATO has been "defeated" by Russia. Bethany Clarke/Getty Images