On the day Russian tanks crossed the Ukrainian border, Putin set two simple goals in a speech to the Russian people: to “denazify” and “demilitarize” Ukraine. Essentially, this meant overthrowing the Ukrainian government and destroying the Ukrainian military.
Even after the crushing defeat in the Battle of Kiev, the second defeat in the Kharkiv counter-offensive and the failure to retain the city of Kherson, Putin continued to push these two goals. As for everything that happened or could happen during his illegal invasion, these are the two measures that Putin has built for himself and that he returns to again and again.
This is what makes this the most critical moment of the interview with Prigozhin.
Prigozhin admits Putin’s invasion not only failed, it did the trick opposite of what Putin has declared his central objective. The Ukrainian government is in every way stronger than it was at the start of the war, both in terms of domestic popular support and perhaps more importantly, on the international stage. Zelensky is the new Churchill. The Ukrainian army, warts and all, is now a symbol of strength, resilience and bravery that has no modern rival.
“I don’t know,” Prigozhin said. “It’s like the Greeks during the period of prosperity of Greece. As the Romans were during…” At which point Dolgov interrupts him, but the point is made.
Which brings the second measure of the Russian failure, the one Prigozhin returns to several times in the interview. Putin was not only ineffective in his efforts to crush the Ukrainian army, his invasion made that army much, much stronger. In fact, says Prigozhin, the Ukrainian army is now one of the strongest in the world.
“If at the beginning of the special operation they had 500 tanks, hypothetically speaking,” Chief Wagner said, “now they have 5,000 tanks. If 20,000 men could fight before, now it’s 400,000. … Damn knows how, but we have militarized Ukraine.
Putin succeeded in making Zelensky a hero, the Ukrainian people a symbol of all that is good, and the Ukrainian army one of the strongest in the world. At this rate, other nations might actually start to wonder if they want to be invaded next.
It’s not just Prigozhin and it’s not just bloggers who are beginning to realize how badly this all turned out for Russia. Even on state-sanctioned propaganda television, the questions get a little uncomfortable.
“I have a question about the strategic defeat of America that you mentioned as our goal. Sure, that sounds awesome, most of our viewers will like it. … But I have a feeling, you don’t you’ll probably disagree, but after fifteen months of fighting, when we not only failed to crush Ukraine, but also couldn’t move the front from Donetsk, well, it’s a bit early to talk about America’s strategic defeat.
The answer – which includes a parable about learning to jump a two-meter bar by simply jumping a two-meter bar – ends with a “Go ahead, comrades!” and an insistence that being unable to wrest a mile from Ukraine does not mean they cannot conquer the whole of the United States. It’s just as absurd as it sounds.
Where can the Russian army go to find respect in this world? Well, comrade, there’s always Fox News.
If you can get past the first minute, which DeSantis devotes to attacking the “woke” US military, you can finally reach that glimmer of hope that Putin must currently cling to for his future dreams. DeSantis calls the illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine “what’s happening in Eastern Europe.” Then says he wants a ‘settlement’, says he’s worried about a ‘wider war’, and the only time he utters the word ‘Ukraine’ is when he expresses that he doesn’t want to get involved there.
Right now, with most of the world awaiting Ukraine’s next move, Putin has only one hope: the Republican counteroffensive against democracy.
Russia’s mini-invasion is causing trouble for everyone
When eighty Russian volunteers from two different groups crossed the border at Belgorod earlier this week, capturing a Russian APC and momentarily claiming two villages, there were undoubted good effects. This once again demonstrated that Russia’s border security is virtually non-existent. He showed that the Russian Air Force, VDV and ground forces are incapable of reacting quickly to an incursion, and he strongly hinted that a serious military push into Russia could hit important targets before encountering resistance.
If nothing else, it put fear of the Orthodox Jesus into the hearts of those inside and outside the Kremlin. Some of the vocal questioning of Russia’s actions in Ukraine hitting Russian airwaves this week were no doubt inspired by watching insurgent trucks hoist rebel flags over Russian cities and smash down highways. Russians without a shot being fired.
The Belgorod incursion could even force Russia to detach some of its frontline troops to set up some semblance of border security. After all, this is the second time anti-Putin Russians have crossed the border to engage in military hijackings.
However, these actions also generate a backlash that Ukraine certainly does not want. This includes footage of US-delivered vehicles sitting in a ditch across the Russian border. As Policy reports, the United States is now investigating how this happened.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday the White House was “reviewing this information that U.S. equipment and vehicles may have been involved,” hinting at frustration in Washington. .
These reports would be confirmed at just about every step, since the videos from the Russian insurgents and those released at the end of the case by the Russian government show American Humvees and MaxxPro vehicles, equipped with machine guns. .
The big concern here is simply the level of trust the United States places in Ukraine when handing over any weapons system. If these vehicles were stolen by Russian AWOL volunteers in their attempt to create their own “people’s republic”, that’s bad enough. If the Ukrainian military handed over equipment from the United States to a Russian faction with the tacit agreement, it would be used across the border… frankly, neither the Pentagon nor President Joe Biden will appreciate that .
Rightly or wrongly, this will be seen as a signal that Ukraine cannot be trusted to do what it says, or is seriously lacking in military discipline. Honestly, if you can’t stop half a company of soldiers from picking up their guns and going on personal missions, what military discipline do you have? And the consequences are potentially enormous, because a strict condition of long-range arms deliveries is that Ukraine only exploits them inside its own territory. This could impact the delivery of F-16 fighter jets and longer-range missiles, as well as justify the refusal to deliver ATACMS long-range rockets.
The answer to all of this is probably going to come down to this: Will the guys who hobbled across the border, rejoicing in their big adventure, find themselves paying a price? A price in terms of visiting the Ukrainian equivalent of the Fort military prison. Leavenworth, Kansas. Ukraine may have to choose between neo-nazi russian groups they accepted as volunteers, or the respect and confidence of the United States, their most important ally and their greatest benefactor. This little adventure could have big consequences, and not all of them are good for Ukraine.
Russia was lying about shooting all the drones
On Wednesday, the Russian military released a video of the reconnaissance ship Ivan Khurs attacked by drones somewhere in the Black Sea. According to this report, Russian forces shot down all the drones before they reached the ship.
Surprise. It seems that Russia lied about this. Because a recently released video appears to show, one of these drone boats making contact with the Khurs.
Did he manage to cause damage to the Russian warship? It seems unlikely that the spy ship is on its way to rejoin its former flagship, but the video indicates that a drone hit its target and was large enough to carry significant explosives. At a time when AI images and videos are within reach of the average social media user, it’s hard to say if this video Or the one released earlier by Russia, reflects real events. Something like this – grainy, with few landmarks or background objects – is exceptionally easy to simulate.
We probably won’t know unless the Khurs limps somewhere in a port, trailing smoke.