A former Russian commander and prominent military blogger have given another scathing assessment of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. He described how Vladimir Putin’s troops had already been dealt a “strategic defeat” by Ukraine.
Igor Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, is an army veteran and former intelligence officer who played a key role in Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
He is among a number of milbloggers who give candid accounts of Russia’s war effort that are far removed from the picture portrayed by Kremlin-backed television channels.
On his Telegram channel he has pulled no punches in his criticism of Russia’s military failures in Ukraine, earlier this month describing how Moscow’s forces do not have “the slightest idea about the ultimate strategic goals of the current military campaign.”
He resumed this theme in a video posted on Friday in which he said the “sluggish” war in Ukraine was playing into the hands of Ukraine’s western allies, “primarily the United States.”
He said that the “prolonged internal meatgrinder within Russia which is now being called the Russian-Ukrainian war”, could result in the “collapse of the political regime and the state of the Russian Federation.”
He then outlined what he thought needed for Russia to gain the ascendancy and carry out “offensive strategic operations of a decisive nature.”
“Victory is made in the rear,” he said, as he lamented how nothing was done “in the rear to make this victory (possible).”
Previously critical of Putin’s mobilization, which was beset by inadequate training and equipment and accusations that it had been botched, Girkin said that the question of Russian military personnel in Ukraine “is not solved at all.”
In a swipe at the military top brass, he said that if the Red Army during World War Two had kept the same commanders in 1942 and 1943 that it had when the Soviet Union entered the war in 1941, the German army might have made it “beyond the Urals” in western Russia.
“We have a roughly similar picture taking place,” Girkin said, noting that the war in Ukraine had been ongoing for nearly ten months and that the “heaviest defeats suffered” by Russia have been “of a strategic nature.” Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
“Because the fact that Ukraine is not defeated and nowhere near the end of the war is a strategic defeat,” he said. He also lamented that no one had been held responsible, except for “scapegoats” like General Alexander Lapin, who was removed from his command of Russia’s Central Military District in October.
The clip was tweeted by War Translated, adding, “Depressed Girkin declares strategic defeat as the war with Ukraine is nowhere near its end after almost ten months of fighting.”
In November, Girkin was sentenced in absentia by the Hague to life in prison for his role in shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014, which killed 298 passengers.
The plane bound for Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, amid fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces.
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