Hamish De Bretton-Gordon, a chemical weapons expert, told Express.co.uk that Putin is “vulnerable”, as his entire attention is focused on the invasion of Ukraine. The former army officer, who is currently training Ukrainians on how to survive chemical weapons, claimed Putin’s forces so far appear to be “bogged down” and is urging the UK Government and NATO allies to put more pressure on the Russian leader.
He said that the West could “get on the front foot” against Russia by implementing a no-fly zone, saying that “if [Putin] f***s up in Ukraine, his whole deck of cards could fall down.”
This comes as Putin’s invasion of Ukraine looks to be advancing slower than planned.
His forces, which appear to have taken high numbers of casualties, are yet to capture Kyiv.
The US military has estimated that between 5,000 and 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the invasion began on February 24.
But Ukrainian armed forces have reported that the number is more than 13,500.
Between 2,000 and 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers are believed to have been killed, according to US estimates.
While NATO allies have implemented harsh sanctions on Russia and are continuing to supply weapons to Ukraine, they have so far refused to implement a no-fly zone.
Speaking to Express.co.uk about the possibility of military intervention from the alliance, Mr De Bretton-Gordon said: “We could actually engage Russian jets from well outside the Ukraine airspace.
“You could actually have a no-fly zone without having British or American aircraft over Ukraine because you have so many assets that could do the same job from outside Ukraine airspace.
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“We should be making more of that.
“In theory, if he f***s up in Ukraine, his whole deck of cards could fall down.
“I think our information and messaging should be around that – ‘we know you are completely committed to Ukraine. You are very vulnerable for the rest of your country.’
“Let’s give him some difficult decisions to make.
“We need to get on the front foot and start giving him some problems.”
However, Mr De Bretton-Gordon also warned that Putin could “escalate” the war if he continues to be “bogged down”.
He said: “I’m really concerned at the moment because the Russian army is bogged down. It is just not very good.
“I was a tank commander as a youngster and the performance of their tank battalions and tanks is shocking.
“I fear that if they are bogged down, which I think they are, if they’re going to progress they have got to escalate and the escalation to me is irregular weapons – so incendiary, chemical and – god forbid – battlefield nuclear – If he wants to get this over quickly.”