Putin’s ‘embarrassing’ military humiliated as soldiers surrendering in their droves

Ukraine: Russia beginning to admit progress is slow says expert

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The Russian military was expected to achieve its objectives in Ukraine in a matter of days, but as the months go on, the war is looking increasingly bleak for Moscow, with NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg this week for the first time suggesting Ukraine could in fact emerge victorious. Key cities such as Kyiv remain under Ukrainian control with President Volodymyr Zelensky’s military having recently recaptured Kharkiv — Ukraine’s second city — from Russian forces. Estimates suggest that Russia has lost a third of its invasion force and now, even figures in Russia appear to be waking up to the sobering reality of war, with Mikhail Khodarenok, a retired Russian military colonel and analyst, on Tuesday appearing on Russian-state TV and suggesting that “the situation [for Russia] will clearly get worse” — a clear break with the party line.

Individuals from around the world have travelled to Ukraine to volunteer and fight Russian forces, including Shane Matthew, a former Lance Corporal sniper in the British Army and combat medic who left his home in England to help train the Ukrainian defence forces in first aid.

Speaking to the i, he described the activities of the Russian army in Ukraine, explaining: “They are using 122mm fixed artillery placements. So it’s a massive firepower. But it is indiscriminate. They are shelling everywhere.

“I have seen massive amounts of civilian casualties. I was down on the bridge when the Fox News team got killed the other morning as well, and the reporter from NYT [the New York Times].

“They were targeting a bridgehead on the outskirts of Irpin where it is just ambulances and press. There was no military there. They are shelling anyone. It is insane.”

He went on to take a serious swipe at the Russian military, describing the outfit as “embarrassing” and that “the Taliban are better fighters”.

Speaking in March, Mr Matthew said: “Their skills, the way they operate, the way they move, the way they run out of supplies left right and centre. The fact they are leaving convoys in the open for the Ukrainians to obliterate.

“I have never seen something so embarrassing. The Taliban were better fighters than the Russians. They are surrendering in their droves. It’s embarrassing.

“For the second largest army in the world it is a joke. I have seen prisoners surrendering, I have seen Russian soldiers faking epilepsy attacks to get in the back of civilian ambulances in the hopes of getting out.”

Mr Matthew said he had been “massively impressed” by the efforts of Ukrainians in fending off the invaders, noting that he had “never seen anything like it”.

He added: “The Battle for Kyiv is not coming up. They wouldn’t make it to the city.

“The defences here and the tactics the Ukrainians are using are far superior to the Russians. They wouldn’t get through.

“What they are doing is effectively an insurgency of civilians fighting.”

The former military man said he was appalled at seeing what Russian forces were doing to civilians in Ukraine, and so was motivated to upend his normal life and come to the defence of others.

He continued: “I saw what the Russians were doing to a civilian population and wasn’t prepared to stand for it and just watch with the skillset I’ve got.

“My Mum was absolutely fuming. But they know me well enough after 34 years that anything they said wouldn’t stop me. It’s not the first time they have said goodbye and sent me to a warzone.


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“I went over with a Ukrainian friend of mine and we literally rolled out to one of the defence battalions to join them. I was in a training capacity with first aid, but we have been doing it on the frontlines ever since we got here.”

This week, analysis based on figures produced by the Oryx Project indicated that Ukraine’s success in holding back Russia has been down largely to the deliberate targeting of the Kremlin’s supply lines and logistical capabilities.

When all types of logistics equipment are taken into account, including engineering and communications vehicles, the ratio of losses may be as high as 15:1, they said.

Philips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at St Andrews University and a leading authority on military planning, told i it appeared Kyiv had prioritised attacks on Russian supply lines “to great effect”.

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