A Russian political science professor has claimed the war in Ukraine could simply be a ‘rehearsal’ for a bigger conflict, allowing Russia ‘s military to test and compare its firepower with that of NATO .
Alexei Fenenko, an associate professor at Moscow State University’s school of world politics and a research fellow at the Institute of International Security Studies, made the incredible claim yesterday during a talk show on Kremlin-controlled TV channel Russia One.
‘I think the war in Ukraine… is a rehearsal for a possible larger conflict in the future. We are testing our weapons against those of NATO, we will find out how much stronger our weapons are than theirs,’ the professor declared.
‘It could be a good learning experience for future conflicts,’ he added, before talk show host Olga Skabeyeva interjected: ‘It’s a scary experiment.’
The outlandish statement is the latest example of the Kremlin’s attempts to control the narrative surrounding its invasion of Ukraine, in which Putin’s forces have suffered huge losses and are coming under counter-attacks along the eastern front in the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
It came on the same day that a retired Russian military commander re-appeared on the show warning Ukrainian officials not to underestimate Russia ‘s military and economic might – despite having given a disparaging assessment of Russia’s war effort just days earlier.
Professor Alexei Fenenko, says that for Russia, its war in Ukraine is a rehearsal for a potential larger conflict with NATO countries
‘I think the war in Ukraine… is a rehearsal for a possible larger conflict in the future. We are testing our weapons against those of NATO, we will find out how much stronger our weapons are than theirs,’ the professor declared
According to the latest report from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a total of 28,700 Russian troops have perished in battle since the invasion began on February 24, along with a whole host of military equipment
Despite overwhelming evidence to suggest Russia’s ‘special military operation’ has not gone to plan, the Kremlin is maintaining a constant stream of content across state media to paint the ‘demilitarisation of Ukraine’ in a positive light (Debris of a burned tank is seen in Mala Rohan’ village near Kharkiv, Ukraine, 18 May 2022)
According to the latest report from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a total of 28,700 Russian troops have perished in battle since the invasion began on February 24.
The report also claims 1,263 Russian tanks, 3,090 armoured vehicles, 204 planes, 168 helicopters and hundreds of artillery and missile launchers have been destroyed in bitter fighting.
While these numbers cannot be independently verified, Western intelligence estimates put the number of Russian troop losses between 7,000 – 15,000 as early as late March, while an intelligence update last week from the British Ministry of Defence said Putin has lost up to a third of his main invasion force.
Though Ukraine’s Armed Forces are also thought to have sustained considerable losses, the well-trained military and volunteer territorial defence forces have since been boosted by conscription and huge pledges of financial aid, training and weaponry from NATO countries.
Despite overwhelming evidence to suggest Russia’s ‘special military operation’ has not gone to plan, the Kremlin is maintaining a constant stream of content across state media to paint the ‘demilitarisation of Ukraine’ in a positive light.
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Mikhail Khodaryonok, a former air defence commander and graduate of some of the Soviet Union’s top military schools, spoke on Skabeyeva’s show yesterday where he waxed lyrical about the quality of Russian weapons and boasted about the strength of the military.
‘The Russian Federation has not yet committed even a tenth of its military and economic potential.. so be careful what you wish for, gentlemen!’ the colonel quipped.
‘When a country buys Western-made equipment, it sometimes stops working or malfunctions right in the heat of battle…. our arms are different in their reliability – you get exactly the weapons described,’ he declared.
But his comments directly contradicted his interview broadcast just days ago, when he appeared on the same show and gave a distinctly bleak prognosis for Russia’s war.
The retired colonel last weekend told viewers that Ukraine ‘intends to fight to the last man’ and has mobilised a million-strong army of Western-trained fighters equipped with an endless stream of modern weaponry – much to the display of Kremlin propagandists stood alongside him.
Russia’s position on the world stage is no better, Khodaryonok added, pointing out ‘we are in full geopolitical isolation, and that, however much we would hate to admit this, virtually the entire world is against us. And it’s that situation that we need to get out of.’
The sudden U-turn has stoked suspicions Khodaryonok was subject to a stern talking-to from Vladimir Putin behind the scenes.
Though the colonel has seemingly reversed his publicly negative perception of Russia’s invasion, he continued to refer to the conflict as a ‘war’, rather than a ‘special military operation’ or ‘demilitarisation operation’ as Putin prefers.
Mikhail Khodaryonok, a former air defence commander and graduate of some of the Soviet Union’s top military schools, took to the stage yesterday where he waxed lyrical about the quality of Russian weapons and boasted about the strength of the military
But his comments directly contradicted his interview broadcast just days ago, when he appeared on the same show and gave a distinctly bleak prognosis for Russia’s war, stoking suspicions Khodaryonok was subject to a stern talking-to from Vladimir Putin (Khodaryonok speaks on Russia One yesterday)
A local resident looks at a destroyed Russian tank next to a residential house in the village of Mala Rogan, east of Kharkiv
Urging those around him to ‘maintain a sense of realism’, he warned that ‘sooner or later the reality of history will hit you so hard that you’ll regret it.’
The shockingly frank series of declarations was hardly the first time that Khodaryonok has voiced concerns over Russia’s lack of success in Ukraine.
Even before the war started, he wrote that Ukrainians would fight like hell to defend their country and that Russia was walking into a longer, bloodier, and far more costly conflict than it was preparing for.
It is not even the first time he has spoken out on state TV – ahead of Putin’s Victory Day speech on May 9, he warned that a rumoured mass mobilisation of troops would not solve the problems Russia’s military is facing.
The former commander’s U-turn yesterday came as Bulgarian journalist and Russia expert Christo Grozev said he believes Russia’s security service officials know the war has already been lost and could mount a coup on the Kremlin.
Grozev, a lead investigative reporter with Bellingcat, said elites in Russia’s GRU and FSB secret services are the most likely to try and topple Putin, because they know the truth of what is happening on the ground.
And those elites are already looking for ways to move their money and families out of the country in anticipation of Putin falling, he claims.
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