Putins allies mock Russias role in the war and call

Putin’s allies mock Russia’s role in the war and call for the use of nuclear weapons

The withdrawal of Russian forces from a strategic city in eastern Ukraine has prompted two powerful allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin to do something rare in modern Russia: publicly ridicule the upper echelons of the war machine.

The loss of Lyman Russia, which threatens western parts of the Luhansk region, has struck a chord with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Kadyrov, who has been close to Putin since his father and former Chechen President Akhmad was killed in a 2004 bombing in Grozny, has suggested Russia should consider using a small tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine in response to the losses.

The nuclear warning made headlines, but their public disdain for Russia’s top generals may have been just as significant in a Russia where public criticism of the war effort from the upper echelons of the elite was taboo.

“Nepotism in the army will not lead to anything good,” Kadyrov said, adding that the commander of the Russian armed forces in the region should have his medals stripped and sent to the front at gunpoint to wash his shame in blood.

Such public contempt for the generals waging Russia’s war is significant because it indicates the extent of frustration within Putin’s elite over the warfare, while also permeating the Kremlin’s carefully controlled narrative.

Kadyrov, who has supported the war and has sent many of his own Chechen units into action, said his criticism was the bitter truth about a Russian force that he says has allowed untalented mediocrity to desert the country.

The Department of Defense did not respond to a request for comment. Russian officials say the history of Russian warfare shows that battles often start off badly until the military can be properly organized. Eliminating Russia, they say, is a bad bet.

When asked about Kadyrov’s statements about the use of a nuclear weapon, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday: “It’s a very emotional moment.”

“The heads of the regions have the right to express their point of view,” Peskov told reporters. “Emotions must be excluded from any evaluation, even in difficult times.”

2 of 3 Russian military vehicle drives past a sign asking votes for the annexation of the region in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. — Photo: AP

A Russian military vehicle drives past a sign asking for votes for the annexation of the region in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. — Photo: AP

More than seven months after a war that killed tens of thousands and sparked the greatest confrontation with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, even Russia’s most basic wartime goals are far from being achieved.

A former superpower’s massive army was humiliated on the battlefield by a much smaller Ukrainian force, aided with weapons, intelligence and advice from USled Western powers.

In another setback for Moscow, a Russian official on Monday confirmed Ukrainian advances along the west bank of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region, one of four regions annexed by Putin last week.

Putin says Russia is now locked in an existential struggle with the West, which he accuses of wanting to destroy his country. Russia, he says, will prevail in Ukraine and warned that he was just starting to get serious.

On Russian state television, humility seemed to creep into the usual rhetoric of heightened nationalism.

“I would really like that we attack Kyiv and take it tomorrow, but I am aware that partial mobilization will take time,” host Vladimir Solovyov said on state television Rossiya 1.

“It won’t be easy for us for a while. We shouldn’t expect good news right now.”

Understand the escalation of tensions in the Ukraine war in 5 points

Understand the escalation of tensions in the Ukraine war in 5 points

The Chechen leader said he raised the possibility of a defeat at Lyman two weeks ago with Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s chief of staff, but Gerasimov rejected the idea.

Gerasimov, 67, is the third most powerful man in the Russian army after Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Gerasimov received the military post from Shoigu just days after he was appointed defense minister in 2012.

“I don’t know what the Defense Ministry is reporting to the CommanderinChief (Putin), but in my personal opinion more drastic measures need to be taken,” said Kadyrov, who mourned the dead at a Kremlin ceremony last week.. last year in which Russia officially annexed four Ukrainian regions.

Indicative of his influence, Kadyrov’s other posts showed that he met two of the Kremlin’s most powerful men: Putin’s chief of staff, Anton Vaino, and Sergei Kiriyenko, the powerful first deputy chief of staff.

When asked about Kadyrov’s statements, the powerful founder of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, congratulated the Chechen leader.

“Ramzan you rock!” Prigozhin, known as Putin’s chef due to his company’s catering deals with the Kremlin, said in a statement. “All these bastards must be sent to the front barefoot with automatic weapons.”

When asked whether his words were to be interpreted as critical of the Defense Ministry, Prigozhin dominated his answer with irony: “God forbid.”

“These comments are not criticism, just an expression of love and support,” said Prigozhin, who, according to the United States, leads a mercenary army involved in conflicts in Mali, the Central African Republic, Libya and Syria.

“I, and even more so Ramzan Akhmatovitch, are the most cultured people,” Prigozhin said, using Kadyrov’s surname as a mark of respect.

3 of 3 A screen in Luhansk broadcasts Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on the annexation of Russiancontrolled Ukrainian territories — Photo: Portal/Alexander Ermochenko

A big screen in Luhansk broadcasts Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on the annexation of Russiancontrolled Ukrainian territories (Photo: Portal/Alexander Ermochenko)