A host on a state-run Russian TV channel berated a veteran who called for a moment of silence for Russian troops who had died in Ukraine, with the host claiming that Russia was winning and killing “fascists.”
In a recent episode of “Open Air,” a talk show broadcast on the Russian defense ministry’s official Zvezda TV channel, Alexei Gudoshnikov attacked the Russian navy veteran Vladimir Eranosian after he spoke about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The date it was originally broadcast was unclear, but it appeared to be from Wednesday. Insider found no evidence of the episode on Zvezda’s social-media feeds.
Read the exchange here, translated from Russian by Insider:
Eranosian: “The fact that there are so many people here with fighting experience that passed through Afghanistan and Chechen campaigns and the Donbas, there are really our guys there, and the Donetsk and Luhansk people and our guys from the special operation are dying now, and our country …”
Gudoshnikov: “No, no, no, no, I don’t want to listen to it. Stop! Can’t you stop? Enough!”
Eranosian: “I just want us to stand up now and commemorate in silence, a minute of silence, those guys who are fighting for Russia in Donbas.”
Gudoshnikov: “Can you stop now? I will tell you now what our guys are doing there. Our guys are destroying fascists … [interjection] … Let me finish talking. It’s a triumph of Russian weapons. It’s a triumph of the Russian army. It’s the rebirth of Russia.”
Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24 and have moved deep into the country, seizing several cities and shelling others. One of the reasons Russia has given to justify the invasion is the so-called liberation of Donetsk and Luhansk, two pro-Kremlin regions in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.
However, Ukrainian resistance has been tough, and Western officials have said they believe the Russian offensive is behind schedule.
Estimates of the Russian death toll vary wildly. Ukraine’s military said on Friday that more than 12,000 Russian troops had been killed since the offensive began. A US official told The New York Times on Wednesday that Russia had lost an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 troops.
Russia has acknowledged that troops have died in Ukraine but has refrained from giving an exact number.
Gudoshnikov’s reference to Ukrainians as “fascists” echoed Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has said the invasion — which the Russian government refers to as a “special military operation” — was aimed at the “denazification” of Ukraine and stopping a “genocide” of ethnic Russians.
Ukraine’s democratically elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is Jewish, and there has been no evidence of genocide in the country.
In an Instagram post on Thursday, Eranosian wrote that he was part of the Russian military reserves and that he had inadvertently become a symbol of resistance for Ukrainian nationalists.
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