Ukraine: Former Israeli politician clashes with host over bombings
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Russian state television presenter Vladimir Solovyov has been humiliated by one of his own panellists after his calls for Kyiv and Kharkiv to be wiped out were dismantled by an expert in international relations. During the Russia One broadcast, host Solovyov was joined by former Israeli politician and geopolitics lecturer Yaakov Kedmi. The two pundits clashed in a heated debate over Moscow’s strategy to ensure the frontline of the conflict would not recede into Russian territory. Kedmi blasted Solovyov’s bombing proposal as “criminal” in a rare show of disunity among presenters on Kremlin-controlled media.
Solovyov began the broadcast by condemning the Ukrainian military as he declared the Russian population could be in danger from a Ukrainian attack.
He said: “I’ve asked this 100 times, why don’t we say: ‘If you’re shelling us, Kharkiv will be destroyed, wiped off the face of the earth. Kyiv will be destroyed if they decide to enter Belgorod or Kursk.”
Later in the show, Kedmi addressed the remarks made by the host as he argued: “It’s obscene, it’s not constructive, it’s criminal to bomb peaceful cities.
“These words: ‘To wipe Kyiv and Kharkiv off the face of the earth.’ They should not be uttered, especially in Russia.”
Kedmi continued: “There were no wars in history where the bombing of a peaceful city, of a civilian population, ever led to some kind of results on the battlefield.
“Would they be deterred by that? When did it ever happen? It didn’t happen in any war.”
In response, Solovyov snapped: “Fine, then we’ll keep responding on the level of a girl in the fifth grade who is crying that our peaceful cities are being bombed.”
Kedmi continued the argument: “I didn’t say that.”
He added: “If you have two options, I have 20 others. It’s not an option to bomb a peaceful city and its population.”
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Perhaps realising how fierce his strategy appeared, Solovyov clarified that the Russian forces would be expected to “warn the civilians” within the cities that would be “destroyed”.
Kedmi again shot down Solovyov’s suggestion: “We can’t bomb peaceful cities! These things shouldn’t even be uttered.
“To wipe a city off the face of the earth is obscene. There are 1,001 ways to fight without touching civilians.”
The clash between the two presenters emerged after Russia experienced a number of notable setbacks in the conflict, leaving support for the invasion of Ukraine spiralling into decline.
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Moscow’s Ministry of Defence declared Russian troops would withdraw from Kherson, the city that had become the only regional capital President Putin’s forces had been able to seize in the nearly ten months since the invasion began.
The retreat followed the loss of several thousand kilometres of occupied territory within Kharkiv and the Donbas region after Ukraine launched a widely successful counter-offensive operation.
In addition, reports have emerged from the battlefield concerning the abysmal quality of the Russian armed forces. Newly mobilised troops are reported to have little to no combat training and battalions on the frontline have been forced to operate with outdated and poorly maintained military equipment.
In combination, these factors have created a more divided narrative across state media in the last few weeks and Russian pundits have frequently clashed over President Putin’s military strategy.
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