“Practically the whole world is against us”: Mikhail Chodarenok, former commander of the Russian air defense, chose clear words. In a TV appearance, Chodarenok drew attention to the bad war situation – and thus clearly defied the Russian media law, which punishes the dissemination of “fake news” with up to 15 years in prison.
Russian unpacks on TV: “Practically the whole world is against us”(00:26)
But the bad news from the experienced ex-military is no coincidence. As early as February 3, before the start of the Ukraine war, he had doubts about Russia’s success. Not only that: it almost seems as if he could have predicted the entire course of the war exactly.
In an essay published three weeks before the start of the war, he analyzed the claims of the Russian military elite. The Kremlin, for example, believed that the war in Ukraine would be “extremely short”, lasting “only a few hours or minutes”. Reason for the assumption: Russia will achieve complete air sovereignty within a short time.
«No one will welcome the Russian army with bread, salt and flowers»
Even then, Chodarenok did not believe that it would be that easy. He wrote in his report: «Ukrainian anti-aircraft missiles significantly damaged the Russian Air Force during the 2008 conflict. After the first day of combat operations, the leadership of the Russian Air Force was downright shocked at the losses suffered. And that shouldn’t be forgotten.” In 2008, Russian troops invaded Georgia; Russia later claimed that Ukraine provided Georgia with both arms and volunteers.
While shortly before the Ukraine invasion, high-ranking Russian military officials claimed that “no one will defend Ukraine” and that, on the contrary, the Russians would be hailed as liberators, Khodarenok had a different opinion. “In practice, this is a complete ignorance of the military and political situation and the mood of the broad masses in the neighboring country. No one in Ukraine will welcome the Russian army with bread, salt and flowers.”
Western support underestimated
Also, the Ukrainian armed forces are not in such bad shape as the Russians like to claim. «No doubt, today the Ukrainian army is significantly inferior to the armed forces of Russia in combat and operational capabilities. Nobody doubts that – neither in the East nor in the West. In this regard, we should always remember the commandment of Alexander Suvorov: ‹Never despise your enemy, do not think him stupid and weaker than you›». Suvorov (1730-1800) was a well-known Russian war strategist and is honored to this day.
In addition, according to Chodarenok, Ukraine is supported by the West – which Russia cannot claim for itself. “The influx of volunteers from the west, of which there could be many, cannot be ruled out”.
Although NATO – or the West in general – will not send any soldiers, Ukraine will be “massively supported with a wide variety of weapons, military equipment and extensive deliveries of all kinds of material”. Here, too, he was right.
Russian military expert: «Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet has no supremacy»(00:20)
Military expert recoils on state television
The warning was ignored by Russian politicians. To this day one does not want to listen to Chodarenok. After his first appearance on the Russian program “60 minutes”, in which he did not mince his words, he was allowed to appear again.
But where on Sunday there was talk of a “deterioration of the situation”, a “complete isolation of Russia” and general doubts about Russian mobilization, on Tuesday he spoke of a “clearly inferior Ukraine”, a “nasty surprise for the defenders » and a «clear victory» for the Russian armed forces.
The BBC journalist Francis Scarr, who deals with Russian state television, wrote on Twitter: “It seems that someone gave him a lecture”. (chs)
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