In a rare outburst of emotion, a ‘depressed’ Ukrainian-born Russian major general called the military operation in his home country ‘tragic’ and suddenly walked out of a meeting with US officials, CNN reports. Thursday.
The Americans said the emotional moment was likely a sign of wider upheaval and poor morale in Russia over the military operation in Ukraine.
Major General Yevgeny Ilyin, deputy head of the Main Directorate for International Cooperation, became angry during a rare meeting late last month with Americans at the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow, CNN reported.
A US defense attaché inquired about Ilyin’s Ukrainian family roots just as the meeting was ending, according to a US summary of the meeting obtained by CNN.
The typically “stoic” Ilyin turned “red and agitated,” according to the American account of the meeting. He said he was born in Dnipropetrovsk and later moved with his family to Donetsk, where he went to school. Both cities are in Ukraine.
He then called the situation in Ukraine “tragic and I’m very depressed about it” – then left the room without shaking hands with anyone, according to the account, reported by CNN.
What specifically Ilyin was reacting to, as well as the circumstances of the meeting and other details, could not be immediately determined, according to CNN.
“At the very least,” notes the American account, “it is clear that the morale problems of the Russian forces are not limited to frontline troops,” the summary concludes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, would be furious and humiliated that Russia could not conquer Ukraine in days, as he expected. Amid his fury, top spies have been placed under house arrest and at least one senior government official, Putin’s aide Anatoly Chubais, is said to have fled Russia over his opposition to invading Ukraine.