The Kremlin conceded defeat for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine in February. However, Russia is doing everything in its power to exonerate President Vladimir Putin and shift the blame to others.
It concerns large-scale Russian losses in the area around the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Ukraine’s armed forces launched an offensive there early this month. The troops had already managed to recover at least 6,000 square kilometers of land from the Russians.
According to the American Research Institute for the Study of War (ISW) Russian state media extensively discuss the reasons for the defeat. This is new according to the ISW. Previously, defeats were hidden or distorted. Russian successes were exaggerated or fabricated.
For example, the Kremlin has never acknowledged the necessity of the withdrawal of Russian forces from Kyiv in April. The loss of the strategically located Snake Island was also not reported in Russian state media.
Russia came up earlier with a different interpretation
Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry had another explanation for the losses around Kharkiv. So the story goes about the withdrawal of Russian troops to regroup. According to ISW, this interpretation could be based on a lot of criticism within Russia.
The Kremlin does not flatly blame Putin for the defeat. Instead, the blame is directed at “uninformed military advisers in Putin’s circle,” as ISW wrote.
Admitting defeat, according to the think tank, shows that in some circumstances Putin is willing to admit Russia’s defeat, even if he mainly blames others and exonerates himself.
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