Prominent Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, demanded that Moscow launch a “full-scale war” in Europe to push NATO back after the Kremlin’s retreat on Friday from the key Ukrainian city of Kherson.
Kherson was the largest urban center conquered by Putin’s forces since the Kremlin launched the internationally condemned invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The city was also the only regional capital Russian troops had captured in the war, with Moscow insisting that it would be there “forever.”
Nonetheless, on Friday, Ukraine’s forces reentered the city after Putin’s army retreated. Ukrainian flags were hoisted in the city as the residents cheered and welcomed the end of the brutal Russian occupation, demonstrating that Moscow’s claims of “liberating” the southern city were far from accurate.
Responding to the defeat angrily, Solovyov contended on his show that Russia needed to double-down on the war effort and expand it’s military action. He said it was “necessary” for Moscow to “acknowledge that we need a different army,” according to a video clip with English subtitles shared to Twitter on Saturday by the BBC‘s Francis Scarr. The Putin ally said the military needed to be “larger.”
Vladimir Solovyov is not happy
He says Russia requires a larger army, “capable of waging full-scale war in Europe”
He calls for the “severe problems” which have arisen in Russia’s “stalling” campaign to be solved with an “iron fist”, but insists the original objectives remain pic.twitter.com/lGH75uZtE5
— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) November 12, 2022
Solovyov went on to say that Russia should be “waging a full-scale war on European territory.” He added that Moscow’s objectives had not changed, despite the major defeat in Kherson. The Russian propagandist contended that the goal is to “move NATO’s military infrastructure back to the lines of 1998 to 1999.”
He complained about “severe problems,” saying they must be overcome with an “iron fist” response. Solovyov said this included “shooting cowards” and bringing the “wailing scum in the rear to their senses.”
Newsweek reached out to the Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministries, and NATO’s press office for comment.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed Putin’s defeat in Kherson as a “historic day” for his nation.
“Today is a historic day. We are taking back Kherson,” he said in a Friday Telegram message. “As of now, our defenders are on the outskirts of the city. But special units are already in the city,” he added, including video footage that showed Ukrainian troops welcomed by residents of the city.”
The official Twitter account for Defense of Ukraine shared a video compiling clips of Kherson residents waving Ukrainian flags and welcoming Kyiv’s forces to the city.
“The people of Kherson never surrendered,” the video said.
We will never abandon those who are caught in the jaws of a monster. We will fight for each and every one of our beautiful-as-the-universe people. pic.twitter.com/Gh31K0RFWY
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) November 12, 2022
A Ukrainian national, who wished to remain anonymous, on Saturday forwarded Newsweek images on Telegram of homes she said were in Kherson and were previously occupied by Russian forces. The photos showed ransacked rooms filled with trash and destroyed objects all over the floor.
“Russians are like animals, no culture, no freedom, nothing, their brains are just mix of s*** with propaganda. And they behave like animals. I hate them,” she told Newsweek. Newsweek could not independently verify the veracity of the images.
Putin launched his invasion of the Eastern European country back in February claiming that Ukraine was led by Nazis and needed to be liberated. In reality, Zelensky is Jewish and won his 2019 election with nearly three-quarters of the vote. At the time of his election, Ukraine’s prime minister was also Jewish.
The Russian president has also raised concerns about NATO expansion in Europe, contending that Ukraine must never be allowed to join the military alliance. However, Putin has also referenced previous Russian emperors and the Soviet Union, saying that he aims to rebuild the empire his nation once controlled.
While NATO is not directly involved in the conflict, the United States and other members of the military alliance have provided billions of dollars of military support and humanitarian aid to Ukraine throughout the conflict. The U.S. and European nations, as well as some other allies around the world, have implemented harsh sanctions targeting Moscow as well.
Although Putin purportedly believed that he would quickly take control of Ukraine and topple Zelensky’s government, his military has made relatively little progress toward that goal. In recent months, Russia has been repeatedly forced to retreat. Maps tracing the course of the conflict show that Moscow’s forces occupy about 50 percent less of Ukraine’s territory compared to March.
Left: Russian occupation in March
Right: Russian occupation in November
This is why Ukraine thinks total military victory is possible. For them, negotiating means giving Putin territory.
— James Longman (@JamesAALongman) November 12, 2022
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