Russian state media’s trumped-up narrative of Putin’s glorious war in Ukraine was last night shattered by a retired colonel who gave an unusually frank and damning assessment of the situation on the frontlines and world stage.
Mikhail Khodarenok, a former air defence commander and graduate of some of the Soviet Union’s top military schools, used his platform on one of Russia’s most-watched talk shows to warn that the war is going badly and is likely to get worse, and that nuclear sabre-rattling — far from being threatening — actually ‘looks quite amusing’.
Ukraine, he said, will soon have mobilised more than a million soldiers who will be trained by the West and equipped with modern weapons, ready to fight and die to protect their homeland against Russia.
Batting aside repeated interruption from propagandist Olga Skabeyeva that the army will be mostly made of conscripts, Khodarenok insisted that how an army is recruited is irrelevant — what really matters is willingness to fight, and Ukraine ‘intends to fight to the last man.’
Russia’s position on the world stage is no better, he added, pointing out that ‘we are in full geopolitical isolation, and that, however much we would hate to admit this, virtually the entire world is against us. And it’s that situation that we need to get out of.’
Khodarenok’s remarks, broadcast to millions of Russians who until now have been spoon-fed a narrative of their military’s prowess and Ukraine’s weakness, mark a stunning break with the state-sanctioned narrative and puts him at extreme odds with the Kremlin stooges stood to either side of him.
Speaking on Skabeyeva’s evening talk show — which toes the Kremlin line so tightly that she has become known as the ‘iron doll of Putin TV’ — Khodarenok urged his fellow panellist to wean themselves off of ‘information tranquilisers’ and look objectively at the situation. …
What remains unclear – however – is whether anyone, and in particularly those in the Kremlin, are listening to him.
He spoke out after repeated briefings from western intelligence agencies said that Russia’s offensive in the Donbass has stalled and that a path to Ukrainian victory is now emerging.
In a sign of growing desperation in the Kremlin, military sources said last night that Putin is now micro-managing the war effort – taking decisions that are typically left to colonels as his battleplan falters.
At least there is actual debate in the clip above. When was the last time you heard a debate in the West?