Russian TV pundit slams ‘fairy tale’ pushed by Kremlin as Ukrainians ‘mock’ war defeats

A Russian TV pundit has called his compatriots “clowns” in a blistering attack on Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Political commentator Maxim Yusin suggested that Russian troops deserve to be ridiculed following their evacuation from Kherson last week.

Speaking on a state TV channel, Mr Yusin described the retreat from the southern Ukrainian city as a “sad loss”.

But he said that it was ill thought-out to erect billboards in September proclaiming that the region was “with Russia forever” given “how unfavourable” the balance of forces was.

“Did these people not know how tough it would be to hold the city?” he said, as he referred to how photoshopped images in Ukrainian media of the signs, now with the words “with Russia until November,” had summed up how much Russia had been embarrassed.

“It’s really unpleasant when people mock you and laugh at you,” he said, “it’s twice as unpleasant when we ourselves are giving them an excuse to ridicule us.”

“What was the point in setting ourselves up like this?” he said, describing claims of “unfounded confidence which continue to be heard often on TV in our country” as part of a “fairy tale.”

“Even now, considering those recent realities, people are saying ‘we’ll reach the Polish border. We’ll reach Berlin, the English Channel, Lisbon,’” he said, “and now across the whole world and within the country, the people who are saying (this) look like clowns.”

“That clownery is just indecent now,” he added as he took aim at the “elite” in the clip without mentioning President Vladimir Putin.

“When will the nation, the people, the citizens of our country begin to be told the truth and as such simply respected,” he said, adding: “people don’t like it when they are taken for sheep.”

The city of Kherson was the first major urban hub to fall to Russian forces and the only regional capital Russia gained control over.

The takeover by Ukrainain troops is the latest in a string of setbacks for the Kremlin, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, hoping for a lightning quick takeover and to topple the government in days.