A war commentator invited to Russian state television has told viewers that Vladimir Putin was misled by his advisers into saying Ukraine cannot be defeated in what appeared to be a rare example of sanctioned criticism.
Oris Nadezhdin, a Western-leaning politician making his first appearance in months, called for peace talks in a surprise feature on state-controlled NTV over the weekend.
Mr Nadezhdin, who for years played the token liberal on state television, said: “It is absolutely impossible to defeat Ukraine with the resources and colonial warfare methods that Russia is employing… I propose peace talks to end this war.”
He also suggested that Mr Putin, Russia’s President, had been lied to by his aides about the progress of the conflict. Some analysts and Kremlin observers suggested that by allowing Mr. Nadezhdin’s views to be expressed, Mr. Putin could test the waters for possible talks.
Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said: “Either this was a mistake or it is a conscious attempt to let off steam and at least prepare the audience for the possibility of peace talks. This is a very extraordinary event.”
On the show, Alexander Kazakov, a hard-line pro-Kremlin MP, warned Mr Nadezhdin about a possible violation of Russia’s wartime censorship law and said Moscow will fight as long as it takes.
Hinting at a protracted war, Mr. Nadezhdin replied: “So my 10-year-old children will get a chance to fight, is that right?”
Russia’s losses reignited calls for widespread mobilization, something Mr Putin is keen to avoid
After Russia’s withdrawal from the Kharkiv region, Sunday news programs on Russia’s main channels either failed to mention details of the withdrawal from Ukraine or downplayed it as a strategic move to save Russian lives.
Igor Girkin, a former Russian commander of the Ukrainian separatists, blamed the losses on Putin and his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
He praised the airstrikes on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure on Sunday night and said Kiev’s possible retaliation will “hopefully make it clear to the Kremlin residents of the ‘Planet of the Pink Ponies’ that this is an all-out war and must be won with no illusions about a peace deal “.
Russia’s losses reignited calls for widespread mobilization, something Mr Putin is keen to avoid. Dmitry Peskov, the President’s spokesman, said yesterday it was up to the Defense Ministry to decide whether to carry out a mass mobilization.
However, even Putin loyalists are beginning to admit throwing men into battle against Ukraine’s well-equipped and highly motivated army will not win the war.
Alexander Khodakovsky, a senior separatist commander in Donetsk, wrote on his blog yesterday: “The reason this is happening is not a lack of men, but poor use of them.”
Telegraph Media Group Limited 
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/vladimir-putin-has-been-lied-to-by-advisors-russian-state-tv-airs-rare-criticism-of-ukraine-invasion-41983839.html “Vladimir Putin was lied to by advisers” – Russian state television rarely criticizes the invasion of Ukraine