Russia war veteran brands Putin an ‘idiot’ and claims Ukraine will ‘succeed’

A Russian war veteran has accused Vladimir Putin and his war command of “gloomy-idiotic stubbornness”, suggesting that Ukraine will retake swathes of territory in their upcoming counter offensives because the occupying forces are “badly battered” after a “pointless” assault on Bakhmut. Igor Girkin, a former Russian army veteran who organised militant groups in the Donetsk People’s Republic during the Donbas War, as well as playing a key role in the annexation of Crimea, issued a scathing criticism of the recent tactics employed in Ukraine, branding it as “cretinism”.

He claimed the fight for Bakhmut, which rapidly became centrifugal to the invasion efforts in Ukraine, had nothing to do with achieving material gain but rather to afford Russia “propaganda” to push on their civilian population to justify continuing the war.

Critics of the Russian command overseeing the “special military operation” in Ukraine have become increasingly outspoken, even vociferous, during the Wagner-led attempts to take Bakhmut.

Igor Girkin, who boasts nearly 800,000 followers on Telegram, is one of the leaders of this Russian milblogger community intent on calling out the war commanders.

In his latest remarks, posted on Telegram just after 1.30pm on Sunday, he claimed Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin and its war generals were continuing to try to fight a “battle of attrition” instead of seriously attempting to take territory.

“The cretinism of this concept and its stillbirth are exceptional,” he said. “But it is being implemented with the same gloomy-idiotic stubbornness with which they have been trying to implement exactly the same ‘non-alternative Minsk agreements’ for eight years.”

He said the plan to capture Donbas was improperly conceived and “used up a lot of trained manpower, and exhausted almost to the bottom the stocks of weapons, equipment and ammunition necessary for further offensive operations”, with little success.

He suggested these failures were the reason for “increased attention” on Bakhmut, since “it was necessary to achieve at least some result ‘for propaganda’.”

But he said that the Russian forces are now “exhausted by many months of battle”, adding that if Ukraine were to launch their counter offensives soon, “they would have the best chance of success”.

“If, for example, [Ukraine] chooses the Donetsk front for attack (for example, in the Mariupol direction), then he will be met by units and subunits badly battered and ‘thinned’ by the transfer of reserves to Bakhmut,” he said.

Girkin concluded that the alleged victory near Bakhmut was “not worth the effort and money spent on it”, adding that it was ultimately “Pyrrhic”.

His comments came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that Russian forces weren’t occupying Bakhmut, casting doubt on Moscow’s insistence that the eastern Ukrainian city had fallen.

Responding to a reporter’s question about the status of the city at the Group of Seven summit in Japan, Mr Zelensky said: “Bakhmut is not occupied by the Russian Federation as of today.

“We are not throwing people (away) to die. People are the treasure. I clearly understand what is happening in Bakhmut. I cannot share with you the technical details of what is happening with our warriors.”

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The Ukrainian President earlier on Sunday said there was “nothing” left of Bakhmut besides “a lot of dead Russians”.

The spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Group of Forces, Serhii Cherevaty, said that the Ukrainian military is managing to hold positions in the city.

He said: “The president correctly said that the city has, in fact, been razed to the ground. The enemy is being destroyed every day by massive artillery and aviation strikes, and our units report that the situation is extremely difficult.

“Our military keeps fortifications and several premises in the southwestern part of the city. Heavy fighting is underway.”

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