A military analyst left a clear message for Russian state television viewers: The war in Ukraine will get much worse for Russia, which faces a US-backed mass mobilization while the country is almost completely isolated.
Since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Russian state media – and especially state television – have supported the Kremlin’s position. Few dissenting voices had airtime.
That appeared to have changed on Monday night, when a well-known military analyst gave Russia’s main state television channel a scathing assessment of what Putin calls a “special military operation”.
“You shouldn’t swallow informational tranquilizers,” Mikhail Khodaryonok, a retired colonel, told the Rossiya-1 “60 Minutes” talk show hosted by Olga Skabeyeva, one of television’s most pro-Kremlin journalists.
“The situation, frankly speaking, is going to get worse for us,” said Khodaryonok, a regular guest on state TV who often gives candid assessments of the situation.
He said Ukraine could mobilize 1 million armed men.
Khodaryonok, a military columnist for the newspaper gazeta.ru and a graduate of one of Russia’s elite military academies, warned before the invasion that such a move would not be in Russia’s national interest.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine killed thousands, displaced millions more and raised fears of the most serious confrontation between Russia and the United States since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Khodaryonok and Skabeyeva could not be reached for comment.
sense of reality
The war also showed the post-Soviet limits of Russia’s military, intelligence and economic might: despite Putin’s attempts to bolster his military, the Russian military fared poorly in many battles in Ukraine.
A siege of Kiev was abandoned and Russia turned its focus to trying to establish control over Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. The West has provided billions of dollars in weapons to Ukrainian forces.
The losses are not publicly disclosed, but Ukraine says Russian losses are worse than the 15,000 Soviet dead in the 1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan war.
“The desire to defend the motherland in the sense that it exists in Ukraine – it really exists there and they intend to fight to the end,” Khodaryonok said before being interrupted by Skabeyeva.
The biggest strategic consequences of the Russian invasion to date have been the unusual unity of the United States’ European allies and offers by Sweden and Finland to join the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance.
Khodaryonok said Russia needed to see reality.
“The main thing in our business is to have a sense of military-political realism: if you go beyond that, the reality of history will hit you so hard that you won’t know what hit you,” he said.
“Don’t wave rockets at Finland for God’s sake – it just looks really funny,” he said.
Russia, he said, was isolated.
“The main shortcoming of our political-military position is that we are in full geopolitical solitude and – although we don’t want to admit it – practically the whole world is against us – and we need to get out of this situation.”
(Edited by Alison Williams)
Source: CNN Brasil