Former Russian commander attributes Ukraine’s success to Kremlin neglect
Former Russian military commander Igor Girkin blamed Ukraine’s successes against Vladimir Putin’s troops on Kremlin negligence on Sunday after Moscow launched a missile strike against Kyiv on New Year’s Eve.
Girkin’s remarks come more than 10 months after Putin ordered Ukraine’s ‘special military operation’ on February 24, aiming for a quick victory that was thwarted by Ukraine’s spirited defense operations, bolstered by aid Western military.
Despite the large size of the Russian military, Putin’s soldiers struggled to achieve any substantial objectives in Ukraine, which regained control of key areas formerly occupied by Russia throughout the fall and winter. Faced with mounting casualties, the Russian leader has now turned to missile strikes against Ukrainian civilian infrastructure as his forces on the ground struggle to maintain motivated and well-trained forces.
Girkin, a Russian nationalist known by the pseudonym Igor Ivanovich Strelkov and for his role in the 2014 annexation of Crimea, blamed Ukraine’s success on the negligence of Russian military leaders in a Telegram article on Sunday.
He wrote that Ukraine and Russia have in recent days launched missile attacks against each other, although Ukraine has only targeted military installations, not civilian infrastructure like Russia. He admitted Ukraine’s attacks had succeeded and went on to explain why Russia had failed against its smaller Eastern European neighbour.
“Unfortunately, in some places their strikes against our military installations turned out to be both targeted and successful. Due to the excessive and continuous debauchery of the command of units and formations of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”, a- he writes. “It is an impression that our command is unteachable in principle.”
Russia launched its own missile strikes, targeting residential areas including Kyiv, Ukraine said. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: “This time Russia’s massive missile attack is deliberately targeting residential areas, not even our energy infrastructure. War criminal Putin is ‘celebrating’ the New Year by killing people.”
Girkin added that these Russian missile strikes, which largely hit infrastructure rather than areas where civilians live, have intensified. However, he has always said that the strikes “certainly won’t work to force the kyiv Nazis to make peace” with Russia.
When launching the war, Putin said his goal was to rid the Ukrainian government of Nazis. The rationale has long come under scrutiny, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish.
Girkin previously criticized Russian leadership
As the war in Ukraine flounders, Girkin is among the military experts who have criticized the Kremlin’s handling of the war. He condemned the Russian military command in a Telegram article earlier in December.
“I must assert once again that our military command – according to the degree of stupid stubbornness with a complete inability to create – rather deserves comparison with the representatives of Ovis arise [domestic sheep] – animals of the class of mammals, the order of artiodactyls of the family of polorogi of the genus rams, than with representatives of primates (not to mention humans),” he writes.
Newsweek contacted the Russian and Ukrainian Defense Ministries for comment.