Retired Russian Colonel Says on State TV That Ukraine War Isn’t Going Well

She attempted to point out that support from China and India was just as good as support from Europe, that perhaps professional soldiers were superior to conscripts and that Russia “had no choice,” the standard Kremlin justification for its invasion by presenting Ukraine as a threat.

Mr. Khodaryonok seemed to be careful not to say anything openly critical of the Russian side, repeatedly stressing that the entire situation was “not normal.” When it came to morale issues, for example, he reached back into history and noted that Marx and Lenin had said that high morale was an important factor for battlefield success. He did not refer directly to recent indications that the Russian Army is suffering from morale problems.

In March, Russia criminalized denouncing its war effort, including even referring to it as a war rather than a “special military operation.”

Mr. Khodaryonok has been critical of the Russian military operations in the past. In an unusual column published in early February, before the invasion, he cautioned against it, saying that it would not be the cake walk that many Russian analysts expected and that it was not in Russia’s “national interests.”

He predicted accurately that the Ukrainians would fight hard to defend their country and that the West would provide extensive arms. “There will be no blitzkrieg in Ukraine,” he wrote in Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, a Russian weekly newspaper supplement on military matters.

Even earlier, about a year after Russia dispatched its military to Syria in 2015 to prop up President Bashar al-Assad, he wrote a column for an internet news service, Gazeta.Ru, suggesting that the Syrian Army was an unworthy ally, pointing out its lack of military success and corruption.

Concerning the war in Ukraine, however, he has previously praised the Russian effort.

In comments on his Telegram channel posted only a week ago, he said that military theorists for years to come would study the special operation as something “unique.” He said Russian advances in the eastern Donbas region were due to the discipline, training, morale of its military, as well as the effectiveness of its artillery. He also repeated the unfounded Russian claim that the Ukrainian side fostered Nazis.

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