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Russian TV pundits are openly questioning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine after Ukrainian forces handed the country a stunning defeat last week.
Ukraine’s military swept away Russia’s forces in the northeast Kharkiv region with a surprise counteroffensive that lasted through the weekend. Former member of Russian parliament Boris Nadezhdin declared that it was “impossible” for Russia to beat back the Ukrainian offensive during a Monday appearance on Russian state TV.
“We’re now at the point when we have to understand it’s absolutely impossible to defeat Ukraine using those resources and colonial war methods with which Russia is trying to wage war, using contract soldiers, mercenaries, no mobilization,” Nadezhdin said.
He went on to protect Putin from any criticism, however, stating that Russia’s leader must have been misinformed by advisors.
“The president didn’t just sit there and think, why don’t I start a special operation. Someone told him that Ukrainians will surrender, that they will flee, that they’ll want to join Russia. Someone had to be telling him all this,” he added.
Multiple reports stated that Russian troops dropped their weapons and fled during last week’s offensive. Ukrainian troops advanced more than 30 miles in the first 3 days alone, liberating roughly 1,150 square miles as of Sunday.
“They came into our houses to take clothes so the drones wouldn’t see them in uniforms,” local resident Olena Matvienko told The Washington Post. “They took our bicycles. Two of them pointed guns at my ex-husband until he handed them his car keys.”
Strategic intelligence expert and author of “Putin’s Playbook” Rebekah Koffler cautions those who expect a wider Russian retreat, however, saying it would be very unlike Putin to run.
“Many believe that Russia will now retreat, given that there are signs that the momentum on the battlefield may be shifting again in Ukraine’s favor,” Koffler told Fox News Digital. “But it will be the opposite. Putin is cornered and when cornered, he fights back much harder.”
“His psychological profile is such that he cannot accept defeat until defeat engulfs him. He also absolutely cannot afford defeat in Ukraine because his whole post-Cold war strategy for Russia hinges on the concept of re-integration of former Soviet states back under Russian control,” she added.