Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly facing rare criticism from his allies as Ukraine’s army continues to make gains in its counteroffensive operation.
When Putin announced the invasion of Ukraine in February, the Russian army quickly seized and occupied massive chunks of territory around the Kharkiv region. However, Ukrainian forces have managed to blow through Russia’s gains in just a few days, retaking roughly 6,000 square kilometers this month in its counteroffensive, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a daily address.
One of the towns that Ukraine successfully liberated from the Russians was Izium, which served as a strategic logistics hub for the Russian troops. The Russians apparently used the town to store their explosives and ammunition, all of which were left there when they reportedly fled. The Ukrainian army’s progress has now led to Putin’s allies criticizing him for the war.
“It’s absolutely impossible to defeat Ukraine using those resources and colonial war methods with which Russia is trying to wage war, using contract soldiers, mercenaries, [there is] no mobilization. A strong army, fully supported by the most powerful countries, is opposing the Russian army,” Boris Nadeszhdin, a former liberal member of Russia’s parliament, said during a panel discussion on state TV last week.
“You say everything’s going according to plan,” Viktor Olevich, a Russian political expert, said on the state-run NTV channel Friday last week. “You really think six months ago we planned on leaving and repelling a counteroffensive?”
Apart from criticism from Putin’s allies, lawmakers in the Moscow district of Lomonosovsky on Sept. 8 called on the Russian president to step down from his position over the war, adding that the fighting has thrown the country back into the cold war era.
“In connection with the foregoing, we ask you to relieve yourself of your post due to the fact that your views, your management model are hopelessly outdated and hinder the development of Russia and its human potential,” the lawmakers said.
In response to the criticism Putin has been receiving over the recent developments in the war, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that there is a “fine line” when expressing critical opinions of the Russian president’s decisions, adding that critics must be “very careful,” according to CNN.