Russian TV presenter and Putin mouthpiece wants death penalty to be used on soldiers
A TV presenter and key Vladimir Putin ally has said he wants the death penalty to be used against Russia's own soldiers as Moscow continues to struggle in its war against Ukraine.
A series of battlefield disasters, including losses in areas Russia has recently illegally annexed, have prompted allies of the Russian president to publicly criticise the war machine's top figures.
Presenter Vladimir Solovyov, a key mouthpiece for Putin, has said he finds it unfortunate the death penalty can no longer be used on members of the military who have failed to achieve their aims.
The withdrawal of Russian forces from the strategically important town of Lyman in eastern Ukraine on Saturday has prompted criticism from other powerful Putin allies, including Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
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Solovyov has always been a cheerleader for the war, but in a clip shared by US journalist Julia Davis his assessment appeared more downbeat.
He said: “Those who are responsible have to be punished.
“Unfortunately, we have no death penalty. Because for some, it is the only solution.
“The problem is they have no officer’s honour and can’t even shoot themselves."
This is not the first time Solovyov has blamed the military for Russia’s failing war.
Last month, he called for recruitment officers responsible for the country's poor mobilisation to be shot.
Putin admitted the "partial mobilisation" had not gone smoothly, following complaints of enlistment officers sending call-up papers to clearly ineligible men.
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Solovyov has used his television show to spread propaganda and disinformation for the Russian government.
The UK and the European Union have sanctioned him for inciting violence and undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty.
YouTube has also blocked Solovyov’s channel after accusing him of contravening the site’s violence policy.
Dmitry Muratov, a Nobel Peace Prize winning Russian independent journalist, accused Solovyov of using “hate speech”.
On Saturday, Ukrainian forces took over Lyman days after Putin declared it "annexed" – causing extra humiliation for the Kremlin.
Russia's loss of the bastion of Lyman, which puts western parts of the Luhansk region under threat, touched a nerve for Kadyrov, the leader of the southern Russian republic of Chechnya.
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He said he had raised the possibility of a defeat at Lyman two weeks ago with Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia's general staff, but that Gerasimov had dismissed the idea.
In another setback for Moscow on Monday, the Ukrainian military advanced along the west bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson.
Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – four regions of southern and eastern Ukraine – are in the process of being illegally annexed by Moscow.
On Tuesday, the upper house of Russia's parliament voted to formally incorporate the regions into its borders.