In rare public criticism of the conduct of Russia's military operations in Ukraine, a former senior Russian officer has warned on state television that the situation will get worse.
"Let's not drink 'information tranquilizers,' because sometimes information is spread about some moral or psychological breakdown of Ukraine's armed forces, as if they are nearing a crisis of morale or a fracture," retired Col. Mikhail Khodarenok said on Monday’s edition of Rossiya One’s 60 Minutes show. "None of this is close to reality."
Despite pushback from the show’s presenter, Khodarenok said that Ukraine could arm one million people.
"Considering that European aid will come into full effect and one million armed Ukrainian soldiers can join the fight, we need to see this reality of the near future, and we need to consider that in our operational and strategic calculations. The situation for us will frankly get worse," he said.
Khodarenok, a regular commentator in Russian media, also commented on Russia's broader isolation.
"Let's look at this situation as a whole from our overall strategic position," he said. "Let’s not swing missiles in Finland's direction – this just looks ridiculous. The biggest problem with our military and political situation is that we are in total geopolitical isolation. And the whole world is against us — even if we don’t want to admit it."
Khodarenok warned before the invasion started that it would be more difficult than many anticipated to wage war in Ukraine.
In an article in February, he said, "the degree of hatred (which, as you know, is the most effective fuel for armed struggle) in the neighboring republic towards Moscow is frankly underestimated. No one will meet the Russian army with bread, salt and flowers in Ukraine."
Expert claims that Russian forces will defeat Ukraine in a short period of time "have no serious grounds," he had said.