Ex-Russian Commander Igor Girkin Admits Ukraine Successfully Repelling Putin’s Troops

Igor Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, was a key commander in the Russia-backed separatist forces in the early stages of the war against Ukrainian government troops in the east of the country. (file photo)

Former Russian commander Igor Girkin admitted on Sunday that Ukrainian troops were able to “successfully” fight Russian forces throughout the month of April as the war continues to drag on.

In a Telegram post, Girkin listed a number of Russia’s failures in Ukraine such as the “heavy” losses near the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, which Girkin wrote forced Russian troops to “retreat again, leaving part of the positions previously occupied.” He added that even though the battle in Bakhmut is still ongoing, Ukraine made advances while Russia has not.

“On the other fronts, local battles were fought and artillery and air strikes were exchanged. General conclusion: the enemy [Ukraine] again managed to carry out the April battles successfully for themselves (as part of gaining time in the strategic defense),” Girkin wrote.

He also predicted that next month “the summer campaign and the ‘go after the Ukrainians’ will begin, since our generals were unable to do practically anything during the winter and spring,” except for achieving some goals in the Donbas region.

Ukrainian servicemen walk down a muddy road near the frontline town of Bakhmut on April 30 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Former Russian commander Igor Girkin admitted on Sunday that Ukrainian troops were able to “successfully” fight Russian forces throughout the month of April as the war continues to drag on. Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images

Girkin has been giving assessments of the Russia-Ukraine war since it started last February. The conflict has extended throughout major Ukrainian cities such as Kyiv and Kherson. Meanwhile, Girkin has been an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian defense ministry, and the Wagner Group— a private military unit that is helping Russian operations in Ukraine.

On Saturday, the former Russian commander warned that Putin might face “military mutiny” from the Wagner Group, whose leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, reportedly threatened to withdraw his troops from Bakhmut.

The Wagner Group has played a key role in helping Russian forces in their attempt to take control of Bakhmut. However, Prigozhin has often publicly criticized the Russian defense ministry for not providing his fighters with more ammunition and support.

In another Telegram post on Saturday, Girkin wrote that Prigozhin “openly” blackmailed Russia’s military leadership by warning that the Wagner Group would leave its position in Bakhmut if the issue of supplying his forces with ammunition wasn’t resolved by Friday.

Prigozhin’s criticism and concerns come ahead of Ukraine’s expected spring counteroffensive, which the West, including the United States, has been helping the war-torn country prepare for by providing advanced military equipment, artillery, and tanks, among other defense resources.

The Eastern European country plans to take back its territories that have been occupied by Russian forces, who have built thousands of new defensive positions in strategic areas as they anticipate the attacks.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Friday that preparations for the counteroffensive are in their final stages, adding that Ukrainian troops are being trained to use the weapons and military equipment sent by Western allies.

“The preparations are coming to an end, as in addition to weapons and military equipment, there must be training for our military personnel in how to use them. We have received state-of-the-art systems,” the defense minister told reporters.

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