Putin won’t live to see the end of Ukraine invasion, Russian state TV pundit fears

A Russian political scientist has told state television that President Vladimir Putin will not live to see the end of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine if the war continues at the current speed.

During a talk show aired on Sunday evening, Sergey Mikheyev said if Russia keeps fighting “at this speed” than the war will “last for decades”.

The TV pundit said: “If we keep proceeding in this manner and at this speed, you and I won’t live long enough to see any successes,” he told the TV host.

“Let’s be honest with ourselves. Our leadership won’t live long enough for that either.

“If we move at this speed, this will last for decades or some kind of decision might be made that will be hard to portray as a success, it’s obvious.”

He added: “There are things we could be easily solving, like blocking the ability of Western politicians to travel [to Ukraine], as I’ve said many times before.”

He said trips to Ukraine by Western world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, provide “serious support” to Ukrainian society and President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We either move forward and stop imitating sovereignty and truly achieve success, or we retreat with a massive failure,” Mr Mikheyev said.

He added that he feared China would become the “leader of the world” outside of the West.

“It will be all the more difficult for Russia to integrate into this situation,” he warned.

The political analyst’s comments come as Russia’s Wagner group boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, warned that the frontline in Ukraine will collapse if his troops are not provided with more ammunition.

Mr Prigozhin said his aide had been barred from the military’s operational headquarters after he formally demanded more ammunition.

He has accused ministry officials of “treason” for failing to supply adequate ammunition to his forces, something the ministry has denied.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who has kept a low profile for most of the war, has been on a rare visit to his forces in Ukraine in recent days, awarding medals and meeting commanders.

On Monday, he visited the eastern city of Mariupol, largely destroyed by Russian forces last year after a months-long siege.

Russia is trying to encircle Bakhmut to secure its first major gain in more than half a year, at the culmination of a winter offensive that has brought the bloodiest fighting of the war.

Ukrainian troops have been reinforcing positions west of Bakhmut in apparent preparation for a possible retreat, but so far appear not to have decided to pull out.

Meanwhile, Russia is deploying 60-year-old T-62 battle tanks to the frontline in Ukraine to make up for their heavy losses, the Ministry of Defence said on Monday.

The European Union is edging closer to a landmark move into joint procurement of ammunition to help Ukraine and replenish members’ stockpiles but major questions regarding funding and scale remain.

EU defence ministers will this week discuss plans to speed up the supply of 155 millimetre ammunition to Ukraine, which is pleading for more such artillery shells to fight Russia’s invasion, and to order more munitions together.