Russia 'Miscalculated its Strength' and 'Can't Win,' State TV Admits

A guest on Russian state TV has said in a rare admission that Russia "miscalculated its strength" when President Vladimir Putin invaded neighboring Ukraine in February, and that the Russian leader "can't win."

The comments came from Victor Olevich, lead expert at the Center for Actual Politics, during a segment of the program Myesta Vstrechi (The Meeting Place), after host Andrey Norkin asked him to weigh in on Russia's claims that Kyiv is preparing to use a "dirty bomb" in Ukraine.

"We're ringing all the bells. On Saturday, [Sergei] Shoigu spoke to [Lloyd] Austin, as far as I understand, Americans called—not us, and on Sunday there were talks with London and Paris. How does it look, what may come of it?" asked Norkin.

"Here is approximately how this all looks," responded Olevich. "Russia initiated a special military operation, miscalculated its strength, and for eight straight months can't win."

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin is pictured at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on October 21, 2022. A Russian state TV guest has said in a rare admission that Russia "miscalculated its strength" when Putin invaded Ukraine and that the Russian leader "can't win." GAVRIIL GRIGOROV/SPUTNIK/AFP/Getty Images

Olevich added that at the same time, Russian officials are "complaining and getting upset" that Moscow's opponents, "the same countries who want to neutralize Russia, to dismember and destroy it" don't believe and support Russia, and "aren't listening."

Norkin appeared to be taken aback at Olevich's assessment of the conflict, and said: "We aren't complaining, we're outraged, I would say."

"We can be outraged and angry until we turn blue, but it will in no way solve our problems," Olevich hit back.

The state TV host asked the expert again if he believes Russia can "prevent a nuclear provocation."

"The best way to prevent any provocation is to expose it and not only in telephone conversations with some foreign leaders, especially with leaders of adversary countries. But if there is real information, real evidence, as to where this dirty bomb is located, where are they planning to use it? Where are the documents? Show the documents—these provocations don't happen without orders," challenged Olevich.

He added: "If Russia's military intelligence has all this data, it's time to reveal it."

The expert's remarks come amid a noticeable shift on Russian state TV about the war, with guests and hosts demanding answers from the Kremlin and admitting the country's shortcomings in the conflict.

Late on Monday, Russia doubled down on its warning that Ukraine intends to use a "dirty bomb," and sent a letter to the United Nations saying that it would bring the issue to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

"We will regard the use of the dirty bomb by the Kyiv regime as an act of nuclear terrorism," Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council in the letter.

The West has rejected Russia's "dirty bomb" claims as false.

"The world would see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation," the foreign ministers of France, Britain and the U.S. said in a joint-statement.

A dirty bomb, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a mix of explosives and radioactive material such as powder or pellets.

"When the dynamite or other explosives are set off, the blast carries radioactive material into the surrounding area," the CDC states on its website.

Newsweek has contacted Russia's foreign ministry for comment.