Russia-Ukraine news for September 14, 2022

Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Russian Communist Party, attended the plenary session of the Russian Parliament on Tuesday. (Dmitry Dukhanin/Kommersant/Sipa USA/AP)

The defeat of Russian forces in the Kharkiv region has sparked an unusually fierce and public debate in Moscow. Commentators and politicians have debated what went wrong, often blaming the Ministry of Defence.

The public airing of complaints about what Russia describes as a “special military operation” in Ukraine stands in stark contrast to its handling of previous setbacks, such as the loss of Snake Island, where Russia’s withdrawal was described as a goodwill gesture.

Commentators dismissed the Defense Ministry’s weekend explanation that they were being “rerouted” from Kharkiv to the Donbass.

A member of Russia’s Inter-Ethnic Relations Council, Bogdan Bezpalko, suggested that the military should be held accountable for ignoring intelligence about an imminent attack in Ukraine.

“For two months at the front, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and military equipment are accumulating in that area, all Telegram channels are writing about it,” he said on state television.

“Where was our damn knowledge? All their heads should be lying on Putin’s table.’

Bezpalko has asked for “limited mobilization” in Russia. “Of course, this is a tactical failure,” he said on Monday.

The discussion of a general mobilization – and the designation of a “special military” operation as a war – is also entering the Russian parliament.

“How does a special military operation differ from a war? You can stop the military operation at any time. You can’t stop the war. It ends in victory or defeat. I am leading you to think that a war is going on,” said Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Russian Communist Party, at Tuesday’s session.

Some contexts: On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was “no discussion for now” on a general mobilization. Asked about criticism of the operation in Ukraine, he said it shows “pluralism,” adding that Russians support President Vladimir Putin and himself. decisions but warned that critical opinions have a limit.

As for other critical viewpoints, as long as they remain within the scope of the law, that is plurality. But there is a fine line, and one must be very careful here,” said Peskov.