Russian expert calls for telling the truth about war defeats: ‘Stop pretending’

Russian analyst Igor Shishkin criticized the Kremlin’s commercialization of its withdrawal from Kherson in an interview broadcast on Russian television.

Russia began withdrawing its troops from Kherson this week to further protect its civilians and troops from the exposed position. Earlier in the war, the Kremlin declared the Ukrainian city part of the Russian Federation. Civilians viewed the pullout as a victory, but Ukrainian officials are urging caution in case Russian forces use the pullout as an effort to unleash new attacks on Ukraine.

Russia has said that since Kherson is the only land it holds west of the Dnipro, it is becoming increasingly difficult to supply troops. He described the withdrawal as a precaution and a strategic move, but Shishkin said it sent the wrong message to the Russian people.

“When we suffer a loss, let’s start by saying it’s a loss and don’t pretend it’s a victory or it’s some kind of trickery,” he said. said on Russian television. “We have to tell the truth.”

Above, people hold a Ukrainian flag and a slogan that reads “11/11/2022 – Kherson – Ukraine” in Kyiv to celebrate the liberation of Kherson on November 11, 2022. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on the day that Kherson was “ours” after Russia announced the completion of its withdrawal from the regional capital.
GENIA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

Shishkin said the depiction of the retreat reflects when Russia withdrew its troops from Kharkiv in September following a strong Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Senior Advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mark Cancian, said Newsweek that Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson, while politically damaging to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was “militarily sensible” to protect Russian troops.

Cancian said Russian troops were very exposed on the western side of the Dnipro River in Kherson. Russia was in a position where if its position collapsed, thousands of Russians could have been trapped on the wrong side of the river and then taken prisoner.

“It allows them to redistribute their forces,” Cancian said. “So they can use some of those units elsewhere in a way that fits their longer-term strategy, which I think is to dig in and hold on to where they are.”

Shishkin also said Russian reporting should also not stir up “hysteria” or claim that “all is lost”. TV host Ivan Trushkin countered by saying that civilians often view war as if they were watching a football match – supporting Russia when it ‘scores a goal’ and criticizing the Kremlin when progress is made by Russia. ‘Ukraine.

“And then if they start attacking us just a little bit: ‘The keeper can’t stop anything! Fire the coach! The striker is useless!'” Trushkin said. “I think it’s a huge mistake when people treat a conflict like a football match.

“During my many years in this profession…I have learned a very important skill: closing my trap at the right time so that my emotions don’t come out,” he added. “In my opinion, we all need this important skill right now.”


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