A retired Russian general has urged Vladimir Putin not to go to war with Ukraine, accusing the Kremlin leader of provoking an “artificial” conflict to divert attention from internal problems.
Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, 78, wrote an open letter entitled “Eve of War” in which he criticized Putin’s “criminal policy of waging war,” despite the fact that Russia does not face “critical threats.”
The rare outburst of internal dissent came as Emmanuel Macron visited Moscow for crisis talks with Putin, a day after White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said an invasion could take place “any day” with an “enormous human cost.”
General Ivashov, who has retired from military service and is serving in politics as chairman of the Assembly of Russian Officers, was previously Putin’s liaison in the Defense Ministry. In an open letter posted on the organization’s website, he said he feared Russia would become a “pariah of the world community” if it launched an invasion of Ukraine.
Decorated multiple times, Ivashov was one of the most respected generals in the Russian Ministry of Defense and is known as a nationalist, who still supports the Soviet system, and is close to the Communist Party.
Since he was fired by Putin in 2001, he has become a staunch critic of the Russian president, demanding his resignation and accusing him of “crimes against Russia.”
His latest speech highlights Russia’s nationalist opposition to a war with Ukraine, as well as pro-Western liberal groups that oppose the potential conflict.
Ivașov said: “As far as external threats are concerned, they are certainly present. But according to our specialized assessment, they are not currently critical, which would directly threaten the existence of the Russian state and its vital interests.”