Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:56 AM Is Russia LOSING Donbas? Pro-Putin war reporter says their troops 'can't push ... trends now

Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:56 AM Is Russia LOSING Donbas? Pro-Putin war reporter says their troops 'can't push ... trends now
Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:56 AM Is Russia LOSING Donbas? Pro-Putin war reporter says their troops 'can't push ... trends now

Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:56 AM Is Russia LOSING Donbas? Pro-Putin war reporter says their troops 'can't push ... trends now

Russia is struggling to make significant military gains in Ukraine's Donbas region because it is fighting Kyiv's forces one-on-one, a pro-Moscow reporter has said.

War correspondent and Putin propagandist Aleksandr Sladkov made a rare admission of Russia's military struggles in Ukraine, speaking in a video posted to social media late on Monday.

He said that Vladimir Putin's so-called special military operation was 'shamefully indecisive', that Russian troops 'can't push out Ukrainian forces', and that Moscow's armies are 'making a feat out of something that should be routine'.

Sladkov, a journalist for Russia's state-run Russia-1 TV channel, has in the past been deployed with Putin's forces to make pro-Kremlin military propaganda.

The video showing Sladkov speaking negatively about Russia's approach to its invasion - to a camera in a dark room - marks a change in tone from the reporter.

The footage also appears to confirm the assessment of a US official on Monday, who said the Russian effort in the Donbas hasn't achieved any significant progress in recent days and continues to face stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces.

Russia is struggling to make significant military gains in Ukraine's Donbas region because it is fighting Kyiv's forces one-on-one, Russian propagandist Alexander Sladkov said on Monday

Russia is struggling to make significant military gains in Ukraine's Donbas region because it is fighting Kyiv's forces one-on-one, Russian propagandist Alexander Sladkov said on Monday

Sladkov's video began with him decrying 'scumbags from the Ukrainian armed forces,' who he claimed were responsible for shelling the Leninskiy district in Donetsk - where he was recording the video.

The shelling killed a woman and a 16-year-old boy, he claimed.

'You know why [these attacks] are happening?' he asked rhetorically.

'We can't push out Ukrainian forces from the city. We can't push them out. Because... I don't know. We shouldn't criticise but... we are assaulting with one to one ratio, their villages and their strongpoints... one to one.'

He continued: We are making a feat out of something that should be routine. You see? Their forces keep coming, we can't close the sailient (a military term that can also be called a bulge into military territory).

'I understand it's difficult to talk about this, but at least some fool needs to announce it! Even if today. Even if it's me.'

It was unclear whether Sladkov was saying Ukrainian or Russian forces had made a salient into the other's territory, but by saying 'we can't close the the sailient', it suggested Russian forces had been unable to encircle Kyiv's troops.

He said that despite Russia's lack of progress, morale was 'not decreasing', before accidentally calling Moscow's attack on Ukraine a war - quickly correcting himself to the Kremlin's official 'special operation' line.

'The morale is not decreasing, it's positive, no, we're ready to fight! We're going forward, assaulting, even those who to say it softly we're quite undecisive at this war... em... special operation. Shamefully undecisive.

Sladkov, a journalist for Russia's state-run Russia-1 TV channel, has in the past been deployed with Putin's forces to make pro-Kremlin military propaganda.

Sladkov, a journalist for Russia's state-run Russia-1 TV channel, has in the past been deployed with Putin's forces to make pro-Kremlin military propaganda.

'Even they are moving forward, they start feeling that [they] can win, but... I don't know what sort of sportlike approach this is when this proportion is being held - god forbid more troops would fall onto the enemy! They killed a woman, and a 16-year old boy. That's how it is,' he said, finishing the video.

Due to Putin's authoritarianism, it is rare to see pro-Kremlin figures speaking negatively about Russia's shortcomings, particularly since the Russian president launched his invasion on February 24.

It has been widely reported that Putin was expecting his forces to rapidly advance across Ukraine and overthrow the country's elected government within days.

Instead, his forces have been drawn into a protracted conflict - which is showing no signs of abating. Ukraine is being supplied by its Western allies, and intelligence updates have suggested Moscow's armies are running low on equipment.

After unexpectedly fierce resistance forced the Kremlin to abandon its effort to storm Kyiv over a month ago, Moscow's forces have concentrated on capturing the Donbas, Ukraine's eastern industrial region.

But the fighting there has been a back-and-forth, village-by-village slog.

Ukrainian servicemen are seen in the trenches as fighting against Russian troops continues near to the Cherkaske City, on eastern Ukraine, May 3, 2022

Ukrainian servicemen are seen in the trenches as fighting against Russian troops continues near to the Cherkaske City, on eastern Ukraine, May 3, 2022

A man walks past a residential apartment block damaged one day before by a Russian missile strike on May 06, 2022 in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine

A man walks past a residential apartment block damaged one day before by a Russian missile strike on May 06, 2022 in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine

Russia has about 97 battalion tactical groups in Ukraine, largely in the east and the south, a slight increase over last week, according to a senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the Pentagon's assessment. 

Each unit has roughly 1,000 troops, according to the Pentagon.

The official said that overall, the Russian effort in the Donbas hasn't achieved any significant progress in recent days and continues to face stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces.

Meanwhile, Putin marked his country's biggest patriotic holiday Monday without a major new battlefield success in Ukraine to boast of.

The Russian leader oversaw a Victory Day parade on Moscow's Red Square, watching as troops marched in formation and military hardware rolled past in a celebration of the Soviet Union's role in the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany.

While Western analysts in recent weeks had widely expected Putin to use the holiday to trumpet some kind of victory in Ukraine or announce an escalation, he did neither. Instead, he sought to justify the war again as a necessary response to what he portrayed as a hostile Ukraine.

'The danger was rising by the day,' Putin said. 'Russia has given a preemptive response to aggression. It was forced, timely and the only correct decision.'

He steered clear of battlefield specifics, failing to mention the potentially pivotal battle for the vital southern port of Mariupol and not even uttering the word 'Ukraine.'

Russian President Vladimir Putin watches a military parade on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin watches a military parade on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022

In his speech, Putin steered clear of battlefield specifics, failing to mention the potentially pivotal battle for the vital southern port of Mariupol and not even uttering the word 'Ukraine'

In his speech, Putin steered clear of battlefield specifics,

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