In an uncommon, wide-ranging interview with battle correspondents and army bloggers, President Vladimir V. Putin on Tuesday portrayed the Russian army as standing agency in opposition to the long-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive and urged that the battle was fulfilling the targets he set initially.
“The enemy didn’t achieve any of the sectors,” Mr. Putin mentioned of the Ukrainian offensive that has been rolling out over latest days, as an alternative struggling enormous losses in contrast with comparatively few for Russia. By way of tanks, for instance, he mentioned that Ukraine had misplaced 160 in contrast with 54 for Russia, including that among the latter might be repaired. His claims couldn’t be independently confirmed.
Mr. Putin touched on nearly each facet of the battle in latest weeks. He selected a format he has not often used, permitting 18 reporters to inquire concerning the battle for greater than two hours in a mode harking back to his annual “Direct Line” efficiency, when he answers questions for hours from all over the country.
Russia didn’t must draft extra new troopers as a result of it had attracted about 156,000 contractors or different volunteers since January, he mentioned, on prime of the 300,000 drafted final yr.
Making an attempt to make the very best of the truth that Russia had suffered repeated setbacks with each males and weaponry, he urged that the nation had realized invaluable classes on the way to higher manage its armed forces.
He admitted that the cross-border assaults from Ukraine by Russian partisans had been damaging, suggesting with some bravado that Russia might need to carve out an “exclusion zone” on the Ukrainian facet of the border to stop its artillery from reaching into Russia.
At one level he additionally urged that the Russian military might need to once more march on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Russian forces had been pushed out of Kyiv after failing to take it as promised in only a few days after the full-scale invasion in February 2022, and misplaced a large stretch of the world across the japanese metropolis of Kharkiv to a Ukrainian offensive final fall.
To Nikolai Petrov, a seasoned political analyst, your complete effort sounded as if Mr. Putin was making an attempt to exhibit that he was a commander in chief absolutely in charge of the information on the bottom. Extra vital, Mr. Petrov speculated that the remarks might be a prelude to in search of negotiations by implying that the Ukrainian counteroffensive was doomed.
Provided that most of the people trusts the correspondents and bloggers excess of the Ministry of Protection, his selection of interlocutors, together with throwing out particulars just like the variety of Russian tanks destroyed, was designed to construct a semblance of evenhanded evaluation, Mr. Petrov mentioned.
“There is no such thing as a purpose for him to be so public and to present such detailed explanations except he was making an attempt to handle a Western or Ukrainian viewers,” he mentioned. “The very concept is to exhibit that he’s the commander in chief who is aware of every part about every part.”
Mr. Putin claimed that Russia was doing an ideal job of demilitarizing Ukraine regardless of its Western backers. He admitted to numerous bits of knowledge that had been an open secret earlier than, just like the pardons he was issuing for convicts who had fought for the Wagner mercenary group.
A lot of what he mentioned was not new, comparable to threatening to drag out of a deal that has allowed Ukraine to export thousands and thousands of tons of grain from its Black Sea ports, regardless of Russia’s management of the waterways, saying that he was solely doing it as a result of a lot of the world wanted the grain.
He famous that army manufacturing had elevated 2.7 occasions, and in some circumstances was 10 occasions better, he mentioned, utilizing a considerably odd anecdote for example their high quality. A T-90 Russian tank that hit a land mine had emerged unscathed, although the individual inside took such a tough hit that he died, Mr. Putin mentioned.
In newest chapter of the feud between Sergei Okay. Shoigu, the minister of protection, and Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the pugnacious founding father of the Wagner personal army drive, Mr. Prigozhin rejected a name by the Protection Ministry for all such organizations to signal contracts by July 1. The transfer was thought-about an effort by the ministry to increase some management over such forces, that are technically unlawful in Russia, whereas additionally granting them full army advantages.
Mr. Putin mentioned he backed the decision for paramilitary organizations to signal such contracts. Mr. Petrov, the analyst, urged that the president was utilizing Mr. Prigozhin as a foil, making the president appear the extra temperate determine because the mercenary commander repeatedly requires escalating assaults in opposition to Ukraine and placing the economic system on a battle footing. “It’s his type earlier than any negotiation to let his man say one thing horrible in an effort to look higher,” Mr. Petrov mentioned.
Alina Lobzina contributed reporting.