Russia has admitted in defeat in Ukraine for the first time since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The Kremlin is now doing everything it can to exonerate Russian President Vladimir Putin from any responsibility and shift the blame onto others, according to the US think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive last week forced Russian troops into the northeastern Kharkiv region last week.
Russia has never before admitted defeat, not when Russian forces were beaten around Kyiv, or later, at Snake Island. The ISW added that Russia framed “the retreat from Kyiv as a decision to prioritise the ‘liberation’ of Donbas and the withdrawal from Snake Island as a ‘gesture of goodwill.”
The Russian Ministry of Defence gave a similar explanation for Russia’s failure in Kharkiv,” claiming that Russian forces were withdrawing troops from Kharkiv Oblast to regroup, but this false narrative faced quick and loud criticism online.”
“The Kremlin’s acknowledgement of the defeat is part of an effort to mitigate and deflect criticism for such a devastating failure away from Russian President Vladimir Putin and onto the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the uniformed military command,” said the ISW.
Separately, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Thursday that parts of Russia’s forces fled in “apparent panic” leaving behind valuable military gear. The British MoD added that “such abandonment highlights the disorganised retreat of some Russian units and likely localised breakdowns in command and control.”
The impact of Russia’s defeat in the north has spread panic to other Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine. Ukrainian military intelligence reported that Russians in Crimea are leaving the peninsula, according to the reports.