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May 19, 2022

Retired Russian Colonel Tells State Media: We're Losing This War and We Should Get Out Of It

I just thought there was enough Ukraine news to warrant an update.

It's never clear how much news we get is just propaganda and how much is real. Is this Russian colonel's declaration on Russian TV a sign maybe the Russian really are in danger of losing the war, to the extent it can be "lost"?

'The whole world is against us': Retired colonel gives damning assessment of Russia's war in Ukraine on state TV as he urges Putin to 'get out of' the conflict Mikhail Khodaryonok, a retired Soviet colonel, gave a dire assessment of Russia's war in Ukraine on state TV

He warned that myths of the Ukrainian army being demoralised and in disarray are 'to put it mildly, false'

Said Ukraine may soon have 1m troops armed with western weapons who are ready to 'fight to the last man'

Russia is in 'full geopolitical isolation' with 'virtually the entire world against us', Khodaryonok added, saying it is a situation that the country 'needs to get out of'


He actually has given warnings about the Russian position before, but never to this extent.

Is this guy going to be shot, or does this mean that elements in the government are sending a signal to Putin that dissent is now permissible?

I don't know. I don't spend a lot of time on Twitter so I'm not an Expert on All the Things.

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.

The sense that the war has turned in Ukraine's favor is shared by Ukraine. Their foreign minister recently announced that their own war aims had changed and included reclaiming the lands previously conquered by Russia:

"In the first months of the war the victory for us looked like withdrawal of Russian forces to the positions they occupied before February 24 and payment for inflicted damage," Kuleba said in an interview.

"Now if we are strong enough on the military front and we win the battle for Donbas, which will be crucial for the following dynamics of the war, of course the victory for us in this war will be the liberation of the rest of our territories."

A top Ukranian negotiator is now saying that if Putin wants a peace treaty, all he has to do is take his troops and march their asses back across the borders into Russia:

Vladimir Medinsky, the head of President Vladimir V. Putin’s delegation, speaking in his first interview with a Western news outlet since the beginning of the war, has claimed that Russia has still not received a response to a draft peace agreement that it submitted to Ukraine on April 15. Rustem Umerov, a top Ukrainian negotiator, responded by saying that Russia was operating with "fakes and lies."

"We are defending ourselves," Mr. Umerov said in an interview. "If Russia wants to get out, they can get out to their borders even today. But they are not doing it."

Ukranian forces have recaptured broken the siege of Kharkiv and pushed through to the Russian border -- in fact, Russia is now complaining that its territory is being shelled.

The Russian border region of Belgorod reportedly came under three separate artillery attacks on Sunday, as Ukrainian troops defending the city of Kharkiv said they have reached the Russian border.

Belgorod regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov acknowledged one attack on the border village of Sereda early Sunday, announcing that one person had been injured in the shelling.

But Russia has meanwhile finally captured the Crimean port city of Mariupol, where Ukranian defenders had been holed up in a steel plant for weeks.

A contingent of Ukrainian fighters who doggedly defended a steel mill in Mariupol for weeks "fulfilled its combat mission," Ukrainian officials said, and efforts were underway Tuesday to evacuate the last of the group.

“The Supreme Military Command ordered the commanders of the units stationed at Azovstal to save the lives of their personnel,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a statement. "Mariupol defenders are heroes of our time."

More than 260 Ukrainian troops were evacuated to areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists. The Kremlin called the exodus a mass surrender. Russian Defense Ministry video shows troops patting down and searching the fighters. Some were on stretchers as they were loaded onto the buses.

Ukraine Minister for the Reintegration Irina Vereshchuk said a prisoner exchange will take place for the more than 50 wounded soldiers, when their condition stabilizes, along with more than 200 other fighters evacuated through a humanitarian corridor. Hundreds of prisoners from both sides have been exchanged since the war began Feb. 24.

The situation in that plant was reportedly horrifying.

A Ukrainian fighter trapped in Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant said that several wounded people are lying without limbs and have no access to medicine or sanitary conditions.

The unidentified fighter called the situation "just awful" and said that up to 600 fighters are wounded within the plant. Azovstal is the last holdout against Russian forces in the southern port city, and hundreds of Ukrainian fighters are trapped within its massive structure.

"Fighters are simply lying without limbs, without arms, without legs," the fighter said in a broadcast on Ukrainian television, CNN reported Saturday. "They are dying in large numbers because we can't provide medical care. There are simply no medicines. Those with severe is almost impossible to save them."

Update: Commenters point out that the Russians must be capturing any remaining troops as Mariupol is surrounded by Russian-held territory the Russian-controlled Crimea; there is no place for a retreating army to retreat to. So the preferred term used by Urkaine and the West -- that the Ukranians are "evacuating" the city -- is surely a propagandistic euphemism; they must be surrendering or being captured.

So one city to Russia, one to Ukraine.

But Russia really shouldn't be splitting victories, should it?

This war has really exposed Russia not as a second-rate power but... as a third-rate one.

There was a tension in US propaganda -- or US intelligence estimates -- which would say, on one hand, that the communist economic system was incapable of producing quality and abundance, but, on the other hand, that the Soviet war machine was so formidable that we had to be well-armed to stop it.

I realize the Russians are not the Soviets, not exactly, but... I think a lot of the same systems are in place.

At any rate, it looks like our estimates about the degeneracy of the Soviet economic system was more accurate than our estimates about the fearsomeness of the Soviet war machine. Their army is shit.*

A lot of Russians are dying because Russian tanks are failing and Russian gas tankers' cheap Chinese tires are just shredding on the road, leaving the gas stranded in the middle of nowhere, and etc., etc., etc.**

A lot of the money that was supposed to go into Russian armament surely went into the pockets of his oligarch gangster pals. And his own.

I wonder if Putin will be made pay a price for that.

Russia's biggest mistake was getting in to a war with a country that launders the money of Democrats.

Posted by: Rbastid

Below: The Russian colonel telling viewers not take "information tranquilizers;" and the Russians use thermite weapons against the steel plant in Mariupol. Apparently that's legal by the Geneva Conventions, if it's used against a purely military target, which the plant is at this point.

* Yes Ukraine is being armed with good Western weapons. And they're also using very cheap improvised weapons, like grenades dropped from consumer-grade drones. I'll do a post about that. I think that's something the US has to worry about going forward -- very cheap weapons, basically bought from Radio Shack and printed up with 3D printers, that are potentially very effective against nine million+ dollar tanks.

** I think I've seen people questioning if China's army is all that, and/or questioning if China is questioning that. A lot of their stuff is Russia-pattern, right?

I don't know if China is as corrupt as Russia, though.

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posted by Ace at 03:30 PM

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