Aphalanx of military experts sweeping across Russian TV are admitting the Kremlin's defeat in Kharkiv region as Ukraine forces on
"The Kremlin acknowledged its defeat in Kharkiv Oblast, the first time Moscow has openly recognized a defeat," the Institute for the Study of War said in its assessment of the war that began with Russia's Feb. 24 invasion.
Kremlin officials and state media propagandists on TV are extensively discussing the reasons for the Russian defeat in Kharkiv.
Bogdan Bezpalko, a member of Russia's Council for Interethnic Relations, lamented the lack of military reconnaissance ahead of the counteroffensive, the Daily Beast reported.
Previously, the Kremlin framed the retreat from Kyiv as a decision to prioritize the “liberation” of Donbas. The withdrawal from Snake Island was a “gesture of goodwill.”
Now, the Institute for the Study of War said the admission in Kharkiv is part of an effort to deflect criticism for such a devastating failure away from Russian President Vladimir Putin and onto defense officials.
"The Russian Ministry of Defense originally offered a similar explanation for the Russian failure in Kharkiv, claiming that Russian forces were
withdrawing troops from Kharkiv Oblast to regroup," the institute's assessment says. "This false narrative faced quick and loud criticism online."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Izium on Wednesday, just days after Russian forces exited the city in the Kharkiv region.
He toured apartment buildings blackened by fire and pockmarked by artillery strikes. The entire center of one residential building had collapsed.
Zelenskyy took part in the ceremony of raising the Ukraine flag in the city's central square, in front of the destroyed municipal building.
"It is possible to temporarily occupy the territories of our state," Zelenskyy said. "But it is definitely impossible to occupy our people, the Ukrainian people."