A military analyst had a ruthless message for viewers on Russian state television: the war in Ukraine would be even worse for Russia, which is facing a US-backed mass mobilization while Russia is almost completely isolated.
Since President Vladimir Putin ordered the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russian state media – and especially state television – have backed the Kremlin’s position. Some dissenting voices have been given airtime.
That seems to have changed on Monday night when a well-known military analyst gave a blunt assessment of what he called President Putin’s “special military operation” on Russia’s main state television channel.
“You shouldn’t swallow the informative pacifist,” said retired Colonel Mikhail Khodaryanok on Russia-1’s “60 Minutes” talk show hosted by Olga Skabeva, one of the pro-Kremlin journalists on television.
“The situation, frankly, will only get worse for us,” said Khodaryanok, a regular guest on state TV who often makes clear assessments of the situation.
He said Ukraine could mobilize 1 million armed people.
Khodaryanok, a military columnist for gazeta.ru and a graduate of Russia’s elite military academy, warned before the attack that such a move would not be in Russia’s national interest.
Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has killed thousands of people, displaced millions more, and raised fears of the most serious conflict between Russia and the United States since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Khodaryonok and Skabeyeva could not be reached for comment.
The war also showed the post-Soviet limits of Russia’s military, intelligence and economic power: despite President Putin’s efforts to strengthen his armed forces, the Russian military has failed miserably in many of Ukraine’s wars.
A siege of Kiev was abandoned and Russia focused its attention on trying to establish control over the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine. The West has provided billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukrainian forces.
The casualties were not made public, but Ukraine said the Russian casualties were worse than the 15,000 killed in the 1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan war.
“The desire to defend one’s homeland means that it exists in Ukraine – it really exists there and they want to fight to the end,” Khodaryonok said before being interrupted by Skabeva.
The biggest strategic consequences of Russia’s aggression are the unusual unity of European allies of the United States and the bid of Sweden and Finland to join the US-led NATO military alliance.
Khodaryanok said Russia needs to see the reality.
“The main thing in our business is the idea of military-political reality: if you go beyond that, the reality of history will hit you so hard that you will not understand what hit you,” he said.
“Don’t throw rockets at Finland for good – it looks funny,” he said.
He said Russia was isolated.
“The main shortcoming of our military-political position is that we are in complete geopolitical isolation and – although we do not want to admit it – the whole world is against us – and we have to get out of this situation.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)