Next week will mark one month of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Now, even some Kremlin-aligned Russians agree that things have not gone entirely according to plan.
Viktor Zolotov, the head of Russia’s national guard RosGvardia, said during a Sunday church service that “everything is not going as quickly as one might have wanted.”
“This is only because the nazis are hiding behind the backs of peaceful civilians,” he added.
Russia has been pummeling civilian areas — including a Mariupol maternity hospital — with artillery and rockets. Some reports say that Russians are summarily executing people in towns that they enter.
It’s Zolotov’s RosGvardia, however, that appears to have been charged with managing the occupation. In occupied Berdyansk, RosGvardia patrols the streets; its troops appear to be in charge of overseeing the captured cities of Kherson, Energodar, and Melitopol.
Oppression and crackdowns have come with that. The mayor of Melitopol was kidnapped on Friday, only to be replaced by an apparent stooge who advised everyone to start watching Russian television. In Kherson, Ukrainians continue to stage protests as the Russians reportedly draw up plans to create a “Kherson People’s Republic” — a copy of the two proxy statelets they created in Ukraine’s east in 2014.
It’s a grim picture, as Ukraine continues to fight to keep its biggest cities — Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odessa — under its own control.