A Vladimir Putin propagandist has said Russian soldiers on the front line in Ukraine are thanking the president for starting his controversial war.
A clip of state TV host Vladimir Solovyov shows the Kremlin mouthpiece making the bold claim on the Russia-1 channel after allegedly visiting the warzone, where he said one troop in particular thought Russia was "right" to invade its neighbour on February 24, 2022.
"This is what he told me," Solovyov said.
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"He says, 'If you see the supreme commander-in-chief [Putin], you just tell him one thing!' And I say, 'What should I tell him?'
"'Thank him for having the courage to start it!' It couldn't have been otherwise,' he said. 'We were right to start it!'"
Solovyov added that the troop still had "lots of questions" despite his seemingly unwavering support for the Russian despot.
"A year? Well, no war goes as it was planned," the Putin ally added.
"Whether it's the Great Patriotic War [World War II] or any other. Wars always live their own lives.
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"How we've readjusted and ramped things up in a year commands profound respect, and I offer my words of thanks to those responsible."
The clip, shared by BBC journalist Francis Scarr, has amassed nearly 250k views from the post alone.
"Vladimir Solovyov claims he visited the front line again this weekend and met an officer who asked him to pass on a message to Putin," Scarr tweeted.
The report flies in the face of accounts coming out of the front line, which has seen troops claim Putin lied about the war and others being thrown in jail for abandoning their posts to flee.
In a video to the Baikal People Telegram channel, a group of desperate troops addressed the Russian dictator, saying they had been sent for "slaughter".
The leader of the anonymous posters said: "We are sent to storm the Avdiivka fortified area without any support, artillery, communications, sappers, or reconnaissance. To the slaughter.
"And the command directly says that we are all consumables and the only chance to return home is to get injured.
"We don’t know the names and ranks of the commanders, since they don’t tell us them."
The anonymous troops added their commanders were shooting soldiers who refuse to fight.
More than 550,000 soldiers from Putin's failing army have been killed or injured so badly in Ukraine that they are no longer able to fight, according to Minusrus.
The website, which tracks the number of Russian fatalities in the war, claims 595,760 soldiers had been lost at the time of writing – 148,690 have reportedly been killed in combat, while 446,070 have been seriously wounded and around 1,000 have been taken as prisoners of war.
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