American and allied forces may directly intervene in the ongoing Ukraine conflict against Russia even without a threat to any member of the US-led NATO military alliance, former US spy chief and Army general David Petraeus has said.
If Russia took some actions in Ukraine that would be “so shocking and so horrific,” it would then prompt a response from the US and other nations, the ex-CIA director projected on Saturday during an interview with France’s weekly magazine, L’Express, noting that they “might react in one way or another, but as a multinational force led by the US and not as a NATO force.”
Petraeus, who also commanded the US occupation forces in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, suggested that Washington might form a new coalition of the willing in such a scenario and use it instead of a NATO force to engage against Russia.
He further implied that NATO would remain bound to the terms of the military alliance and would only join the war if one of its members came under attack.
Earlier this month, Petraeus had claimed that the US could wipe out all Russian forces in Ukraine -- alongside with the Russian Black Sea fleet -- if Moscow resorted to the use of nuclear weapons in the country.
The decorated retired Army general doubled down on such claims during the Saturday interview by insisting that Washington’s response to any Russian use of nukes would involve “more than diplomatic … economic and legal actions.”
Petraeus further underlined that his earlier remarks only raised “just one” of “many options” America has in store in case Moscow resorts to the use of nuclear arms, describing the suspected move as an “extremely bad decision.”
The former top US military and intelligence official insisted, however, that Moscow is not interested in escalating the Ukraine conflict and turning it into a global war, adding that a wider conflict is “the last thing” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin needs right now.
Pointing to recent Western press reports about major counter-attacks and gains scored by Kiev forces, Petraeus also claimed there is nothing Russia could do to change the situation on the frontlines, which, he said, is unfavorable to Moscow.
This is while Moscow insisted on Saturday that Russian forces had repelled an attack by Ukraine in the southern region of Kherson, where Kiev forces have reported advances in recent weeks.
The Russian Defense Ministry declared in a statement that "all attacks were repulsed, and the enemy was pushed back to their initial positions."
The ministry went on to note that Ukrainian forces pressed their offensive towards the areas of Piatykhatky, Suhanove, Sablukivka, and Bezvodne, on the west bank of the Dnieper River. Russian forces had also repelled attacks in Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine, it added.
Petraeus commanded US forces in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, presiding over America’s highest death tolls during the 20-year war, and increased civilian casualties.
When Petraeus commanded US troops in Afghanistan, he persuaded then-US president Barack Obama to deploy an additional 30,000 soldiers to the war-torn country, but his so-called counterinsurgency plan, which hinged on “securing and serving” the local population, proved disastrous.
He was later appointed as director of the CIA spy agency in 2011, only to resign the following year after a scandal involving his extramarital affair with a woman who was supposedly writing his biography.