Chechen leader criticizes Russian army after Ukraine setback
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has criticized the Russian army’s performance after Russia retreated over the weekend from Izyum, a critical supply hub in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv province.
The swift fall of Russia’s main bastion in Ukraine was Putin’s worst military defeat since its troops were forced back from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in March.
“If today or tomorrow changes are not made in the conduct of the special military operation, I will be forced to go to the country’s leadership to explain to them the situation on the ground,” Kadyrov said in a voice message posted to Telegram on Saturday.
“I’m not a strategist like those in the defense ministry. But it’s clear that mistakes were made. I think they will draw a few conclusions,” he said.
The Kremlin's silence after the defeat poured fuel to the fire as angry Russian nationalists called for immediate changes to ensure ultimate victory in the war.
On Saturday the ministry announced a “regrouping” that would move troops away from Kharkiv to focus on the Donetsk region further in Ukraine’s east – a statement that drew further anger from many Russian military bloggers.
Some of the pro-Kremlin war correspondents and former and current servicemen who have amassed large followings on Telegram accused the ministry of minimising the defeat.