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Former defense secretary James Mattis rips Putin's 'pathetic' military performance in Ukraine: 'We're watching Russia wither before our eyes'

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FILE - In this April 26, 2018, file photo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis listens to a question during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Mattis warns bitter political divisions have pushed American society to the “breaking point” in his most extensive public remarks since he resigned in protest from the Trump administration.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis.Associated Press
  • Former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Friday called Russia's war with Ukraine "operationally stupid."

  • "We're watching Russia wither before our eyes right now," Mattis said while speaking at the Seoul Forum 2022, CNN reported.

  • Mattis also ripped Russia's military performance in the Eastern European country as "pathetic."

Former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Friday slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin's unprovoked war with Ukraine as "operationally stupid" — and called Moscow's military performance "pathetic."

"We have a saying in America — we say that nations with allies thrive, nations without allies wither and we're watching Russia wither before our eyes right now," Mattis said while speaking at the Seoul Forum 2022 in South Korea, according to CNN.

Mattis, a former Marine four-star general who led the Pentagon during the first two years of the Trump administration, condemned "the immoral, the tactically incompetent, operationally stupid and strategically foolish effort" of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, CNN reported.

When asked during the forum what military lessons could be learned from Russia's more than four-month-long war with Ukraine, Mattis replied, "One is don't have incompetent generals in charge of your operations," according to the news outlet.

More than a dozen Russian generals have so far been killed in the fighting, according to officials from Ukraine and other countries.

Putin launched his country's invasion of Ukraine back in late February, with Russian troops surrounding and shelling towns and cities across the country.

Russian forces shifted their focus on eastern Ukraine after the military failed to swiftly capture Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv and other major cities early on in the invasion.

Thousands of soldiers have been killed on both sides since the war began.

Last month, a former US general compared Russia's war in Ukraine to a "heavyweight boxing match" and predicted that a "knockout blow" is on the horizon.

"In 2 months of fighting, there has not yet been a knockout blow. It will come, as RU forces become more depleted," retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who served as the commander of the US Army in Europe, said in a tweet.

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