The presenter of the Russian state broadcaster Rossiya is desperately trying to question the statements made by military expert Mikhail Chodarenok. In line with Russia’s war propaganda, she wants to paint a positive picture of the war in Ukraine.
But the ex-colonel is not deterred by provocative questions during the 60-minute talk show: “The situation for us is getting worse and worse,” he says surprisingly. He also expressed concern about the geopolitical isolation of his country. For six minutes, he more or less freely analyzes the war situation, as seen in a video clip translated and shared on Twitter by BBC journalist Steve Rosenberg.
Military expert Chodarenok even goes so far as to describe the Russian reporting as false. There are reports of psychological breakdowns and a mood of crisis in the Ukrainian army, he says. “To put it mildly: That is not true.” There are isolated cases, but on the whole the Ukrainian people are ready “to shed blood” in defense of their country.
According to the military expert, Ukraine’s combat readiness cannot be discussed. The more decisive question is whether the soldiers can also be equipped with modern weapons. This can be expected from the support from the USA and Europe.
“In our strategic considerations, we have to take into account that the situation is obviously getting worse for us,” it said. Such statements are particularly noteworthy given that criticism of Kremlin policy and Russian warfare can lead to prison terms.
The fact that the Ukrainian soldiers were not recruited professionally cannot change Russia’s strategically poor position, the expert says after the moderator interjected. Not the military contract decides on the professionalism of the armed forces, but the training and the will to defend. “The desire to defend the motherland is very strong in Ukraine,” says Khodarenok, undeterred.
“The most important thing is to remain realistic from a political and military point of view,” explains the military expert. If you don’t do that, sooner or later reality will hit you. “The biggest problem is that we are in complete geopolitical isolation,” says Khodarenok. “The whole world is against us, even if we don’t want to admit it.” The support from China and India is not unconditional either.
The presenter then provocatively asks: “Can there be any wish for a friendship with London? After all that has been said and done?” Khodarenok appears to have deliberately avoided expressing any direct criticism of the Kremlin, but despite these objections he sticks to his position: “If a coalition of 42 countries is against us and our military resources are limited, then it is the situation is not normal. We have to get out of this somehow.”
Finally, the moderator tries to make a counter-position in line with the Russian propaganda: “Russia’s existence is at stake. Giving up is not an option. We have to go to the very end and we will win.”
It is not the first time that Khodarenok has criticized the war in Ukraine. In February he published an unusually critical column in a Russian weekly newspaper warning of an invasion of Ukraine. “There will be no blitzkrieg in Ukraine,” he wrote, referring to their willingness to convulse.
A week ago, during a television appearance, he expressed skepticism when asked about the effectiveness of a mobilization. Russia will not have any new tanks, planes or ships before the end of the year, he said. In turn, on his Telegram channel, Khodarenok praised the efficiency of the Russian army, as reported by the New York Times. In a message he agrees with the propaganda statement that Russia wants to rid Ukraine of Nazis.