The Daily Telegraph

Russian state TV airs criticism of invasion

- By Nataliya Vasilyeva

A WAR commentato­r invited on to Russian state television has told viewers that Vladimir Putin has been misled by his advisers and said Ukraine cannot be defeated, in what appeared to be a rare example of sanctioned criticism.

Boris Nadezhdin, a Western-leaning politician appearing for the first time in months, called for peace talks as he made a surprise weekend contributi­on on the state-controlled NTV network.

Mr Nadezhdin, who for years played the token liberal on state television, said: “It’s absolutely impossible to defeat Ukraine using the resources and colonial war methods that Russia is using ... I’m suggesting peace talks to end this war.”

He also suggested Mr Putin, Russia’s president, had been lied to by his aides about how the conflict was progressin­g.

Some analysts and Kremlin watchers suggested that by allowing Mr Nadezhdin’s views to be aired Mr Putin could be testing the waters for potential talks.

Andrei Kolesnikov, of the Carnegie Endowment for Internatio­nal Peace, told The Daily Telegraph: “Either this was a mistake or it’s a deliberate attempt to let off steam and even prime the audience to at least the possibilit­y of peace talks. This is quite an extraordin­ary event.”

On the show, Alexander Kazakov, a hard-line pro-kremlin MP, warned Mr Nadezhdin about potentiall­y breaking Russia’s war censorship law and said Moscow will fight for as long as it takes.

Implying a lengthy war, Mr Nadezhdin replied: “So my 10-year-old kids will get a chance to fight, is that right?”

After Russia’s retreat from the Kharkiv region, Sunday news shows on Russia’s major channels either did not mention details of the retreat in Ukraine or played it down as a strategic move to defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, for the losses. He lauded Sunday night’s air strikes on Ukrainian civilian infrastruc­ture and said Kyiv’s possible retaliatio­n “will hopefully make Kremlin residents of ‘planet of pink ponies’ realise this is a total war and it needs to be won without any illusions about a peace deal”.

Russia’s losses re-ignited calls for general mobilisati­on, something Mr Putin is anxious to avoid. Dmitry Peskov, the presidenti­al spokesman, yesterday said it is for the defence ministry to decide whether to enforce mass mobilisati­on. However, even Mr Putin loyalists are beginning to admit throwing men into the battle against Ukraine’s well-equipped and highly motivated army is not going to win the war.

Alexander Khodakovsk­y, a senior separatist commander in Donetsk, wrote on his blog yesterday: “The reason why this is happening is not a shortage of men but a bad use of them.”

 ?? ?? save Russian lives. Igor Girkin, a Russian former commander of Ukrainian separatist­s, blamed Mr Putin and his
save Russian lives. Igor Girkin, a Russian former commander of Ukrainian separatist­s, blamed Mr Putin and his

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom