Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Mariupol mission ‘completed’ as hundreds of fighters are evacuated
A retired Russian colonel told state media on Monday that the invasion of Ukraine is not going the way Russia is portraying it, and that the global isolation facing the country is more daunting than Russian leaders are letting on.
“After all, the main deficiency of our military-political position is that, in a way, we are in full geopolitical isolation, and that, however much we would hate to admit this, virtually the entire world is against us,” Mikhail Khodaryonok said, according to a video translated by the BBC’s Francis Scarr. “And it’s that situation that we need to get out of.”
When asked about the current state of the war, Khodaryonok, who has given frank assessments of the war on Russian airwaves in recent days, urged viewers to be cautious about any information put out by Russia on how Ukrainian forces “are allegedly on the verge of some kind of crisis in morale and so on.”
“All of that, to put it mildly, is false,” he said.
Khodaryonok referenced how the U.S. Congress is poised to approve nearly $40 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, and what that could look like for Russia if Ukraine potentially employs a force of “a million armed Ukrainian soldiers.”
“We need to take that into account in our own operational and strategic calculations, that the situation in this regard for us will frankly get worse,” he said on state TV.
As state media host Olga Skabeyeva pushed back on Khodaryonok and said that the Ukrainian forces are “not such a great contingent,” the retired colonel replied that the will of Ukraine mattered more than whether they are “professional” soldiers.
“The thing is that the level of any army’s professionalism is determined not by the number of those recruited for professional service but by the level of the personnel’s training, and its morale and readiness to shed blood for the homeland,” he said.
Then, as Skabeyeva attempted to equate Ukrainian forces’ “desire to die” to professionalism, Khodaryonok shot down the state media host’s assertion, saying “it’s a component of an army’s high combat readiness.”
“The main thing in our [military] business, it’s always to maintain a sense of military-political realism,” he said. “If you go beyond it, then sooner or later the reality of history will hit you so hard that you’ll regret it.”