‘Afghanistan but worse’: Russian state TV ‘airs criticism’ of Ukraine war

‘Ending this operation will stabilise things within the country,’ one guest reportedly says

Zoe Tidman
Friday 11 March 2022 12:12 GMT
<p>Homes have been damaged by Russian shelling in the invasion of Ukraine</p>

Homes have been damaged by Russian shelling in the invasion of Ukraine

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Pundits have reportedly spoken out against the Ukraine war on Russian state television including one who called it “Afghanistan, but even worse”.

Guests appeared to break ranks with Kremlinpropaganda by calling for an end to the deadly invasion, according to media reports.

The Russian government has stepped up censorship since it launched its invasion of Ukraine, which has killed hundreds of civilians and caused more than two million to flee in the first two weeks.

The Kremlin has blocked most of Russia’s independent media outlets and forced the rest to halt coverage altogether with threats of prosecution and prison for reporting that deviates from the official line, which includes calling the action a war or invasion.

Meanwhile, state television broadcasts messages claiming Russian troops are in Ukraine to save people from “neo-Nazis” and to disarm a country that was preparing to wage war.

But some guests on Kremlin-backed TV have reportedly shared their opposition to the war.

“I have a hard time imagining taking cities such as Kyiv. I can’t imagine how that would look,” pundit Karen Shakhnazarov, said on state TV show The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev on Wednesday, according to the Daily Beast.

This map shows the extent of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

“If this picture starts to transform into an absolute humanitarian disaster, even our close allies like China and India will be forced to distance themselves from us. This public opinion, with which they’re saturating the entire world, can play out badly for us.”

The pundit reportedly added: “Ending this operation will stabilise things within the country.”

Media reported pro-Russian government host Soloviev frowned at such a stance.

The Daily Beast reported another guest, Semyon Bagdasarov, as saying: “We don’t need to stay there longer than necessary... Do we need to get into another Afghanistan, but even worse? There are more people and they’re more advanced in their handling of weapons. We don’t need that. Enough already,”

Earlier this week, staff at an independent TV station staged a mass walk-out after being forced off-air over their coverage of the Ukraine invasion.

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