Moscow/Kyiv – The withdrawal of the Russian army from parts of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region has sparked deep resentment among supporters of President Vladimir Putin. Ramzan Kadyrov, a Chechen leader who is a Putin supporter, warned that the Russian military had made mistakes which must be corrected soon. Former senior intelligence officer Igor Girkin compared the retreat from Kharkiv to the Russian defeat of 1905. Meanwhile, after the withdrawal from Kharkiv, Russian armed forces have launched missile attacks in the area again.
In the past few days, there have been claims of Ukrainian forces achieving major tactical success in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine. Ukrainian leaders reported that the Ukrainian troops have captured some important cities, including the town of Izium, and that the Ukrainian army is a few kilometres from the Russian border. Russia’s Ministry of Defence, which initially did not comment on this, issued a statement on Sunday about the withdrawal. In it, they stated that troops from some areas in Kharkiv had been withdrawn to fulfil the goals of the military operation in the Donbas region.
However, pro-Putin leaders and analysts in Russia were upset over this statement. Chechen leader Kadyrov openly demanded that Russian defence forces change policy. Kadyrov took an aggressive stand on it, saying that if it did not happen, he would personally meet President Putin and make him aware of the reality. At the same time, he also claimed that he had a force of more than 10,000 soldiers ready to fight in such a situation. Chechen leader Kadyrov went on to issue a warning that Russia would respond to the withdrawal from Kharkiv, and the Russian army would soon capture Odesa too.
Igor Girkin, who played an essential role in the conflict in the Donbas region in 2014, claimed that the withdrawal from Kharkiv was a big failure. ‘During the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, Russia was defeated in the Battle of Mukden. The seeds of revolution were planted in Russia after the defeat in this war,’ Girkin recalled. The Chechen leader warned that the withdrawal from Kharkiv would cause history to repeat. Russia’s pro-Putin military blogger Rybar called the retreat from Kharkiv a “tremendous blow”. Pro-Putin analysts and leaders aggressively demanded that a declaration of war be launched, and military mobilization be initiated at the national level.
Meanwhile, Russia, which has retreated from some cities in Kharkiv, has again launched new attacks in the area. Power plants and water supply systems in Sumy and other regions were attacked along with Kharkiv. Due to these attacks, many Ukraine cities face blackouts, while some areas face water shortages, according to local sources.