Ex-Russian operative who visited the front in Ukraine says Russian troops are in disarray due to a 'crisis of strategic planning'

Igor Girkin
Igor Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, speaks at a news conference in Moscow, Russia, on November 13, 2018.Pavel Golovkin/AP
  • Igor Girkin is a former Russian military commander who led the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

  • Recently, he has been a critic of the Kremlin's military strategy in Ukraine.

  • The soldiers are facing "the deepest crisis of strategic planning," Girkin wrote on Telegram.

An ex-Russian military commander who visited the frontline in Ukraine said Russian soldiers are in disarray as a result of fighting a war with no clear purpose and poor strategic planning by the Kremlin.

Igor Girkin, a former Federal Security Service officer and military chief who led the annexation of Crimea in 2014, has recently been a critic of Russia's military strategy in Ukraine, often dispensing his views on Telegram.

In October, he announced he was joining the Russian army to fight in Ukraine and eventually joined the Donetsk People's Republic battalion, illegally, according to The Institute for the Study of War. With the unit, he was deployed to Svatove in the Luhansk Oblast region.

On Tuesday, Girkin recounted what he saw at the front on Telegram and said that Russian troops are fighting with no clear "strategic goals."

"Simply put, the troops are fighting 'by inertia,' not having the slightest idea of the ultimate strategic goals of the current military campaign," he wrote, according to Insider's translation of his Telegram post.

He continued that the lack of a clear purpose and the conditions for victory or simply ending the war is causing "apathy" amongst the soldiers.

"In most parts of the RF (Russian Federation) Armed Forces, soldiers and officers do not understand: In the name of what, for what, and with what purposes they are fighting. It's a mystery for them: What is the condition for victory or just a condition for ending the war," Gurkin wrote. "And the authorities of the Russian Federation are not able to explain this to them, since setting a clear goal for the SMO [Special Military Operation] means 'limiting room for maneuver' — that is, losing the opportunity to declare the goals of the SMO as achieved at any moment that the Kremlin leaders consider convenient."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the war in Ukraine may be a "long process," quietly acknowledging that the conflict has not gone according to plan.

His remarks to the presidential Human Rights Council came shortly after Ukrainian forces sent drone attacks deep into Russian territory.

Putin said there was "no sense" in calling for more troops, but warned that Russia would "defend ourselves with all the means at our disposal."

Read the original article on Business Insider