Vladimir Putin’s First Reaction to Ukraine’s Counteroffensive and Frontline Losses / Criticism of His Own Army

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Tuesday about Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which he said began on June 4, during which Kiev suffered “10 times” more casualties than Russia, according to Reuters and Sky News.

Vladimir PutinPhoto: Pavel Golovkin / AP / Profimedia

Vladimir Putin made the comments during a televised meeting with Russian war correspondents and military bloggers.

Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine’s losses would have been 10 times greater than Russia’s and that Kiev would have lost more than 160 tanks while Moscow would have had 54 tanks. And the Ukrainian army could not have achieved any success in the war zones.

The Kremlin leader declined to say whether Moscow would launch a new offensive in Ukraine in response to Kiev’s counteroffensive, saying Russia’s plans depended on its military capabilities.

Vladimir Putin again said Ukraine had deliberately struck the Khakovka dam last week with US-supplied Himars missiles, which he said would hamper Kiev’s counteroffensive efforts.

Attacks on Russia. “We could have prepared better”

Putin also spoke about some of the recent attacks on Russia blamed on Ukraine or “Russian groups” supporting Ukraine: “We could have been better prepared for attacks from inside Russia.”

In this context, he evoked the possibility of creating a “sanitary zone” on the territory of Ukraine:

  • “Bombardment of our territory from the territory of Ukraine is possible, of course.
  • There are several solutions in this case: First, the counterattack will increase the effectiveness of the fight. But this does not mean that there will not be so-called incursions into our territory. If they continue, we must consider – and I say this very carefully – that they cannot reach our territory from a sufficient distance to create some kind of sanitary zone on the territory of Ukraine.
  • This is a separate matter, I am not saying that we will start this approach tomorrow, we have to analyze how the situation will develop.
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President Vladimir Putin also said that Russia “must fight against enemy agents and improve its defenses against attacks from within its own territory,” but there was no need to follow Ukraine’s example and declare martial law: “There is no reason to introduce some kind of special regime or military rule in the country.” Law. There is no need for such a thing today,” he said.

“Should we go back there?”

Asked about a new mobilization in Russia, Putin replied: “It depends on what we want.”

Asked about Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, which Russian troops failed to capture after the invasion, Putin replied: “Should we go back there?”

“The quality of Russian weapons is improving, but the drones are missing”

The Russian president said the quality of Russian weapons has improved, but the country lacks high-precision munitions and drones. He accused Russia of increasing its production of major weapons by 2.7 times in the past year and of “pumping” weapons into Ukraine by the West.

“Overall Objectives”

Regarding Russia’s “general purpose” in “special military action” in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin said that it would not change in “general terms”: “We are gradually militarizing Ukraine. We need to establish anti-aircraft defense – the task will be accomplished.”

How Putin positions himself in the conflict between Prigogine and Shoigu

Vladimir Putin took a stand in the recent conflict between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the “Wagner” mercenary group.

Putin said he supported the Defense Ministry’s order for Russian private military groups to sign contracts with the ministry before July 1, which Wagner rejected, Reuters writes.

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Even on Tuesday, Yevgeny Prigozhin said he wasn’t sure if his men would continue fighting in Ukraine amid the latest standoff with the Defense Ministry.

The founder of the mercenary group “Wagner” announced last weekend that he would ignore the new decree of the Russian Ministry of Defense, which forces all volunteer organizations to sign contracts directly with the ministry. The decree, signed by Serghei Şoigu and published on the ministry’s website on Saturday, does not specify whether all voluntary groups are obliged to sign contracts with the ministry or only some. There are more than 40 volunteer groups in Russia, but Wagner is the most prominent.

Regarding the grain export agreement through Ukrainian Black Sea ports

In the same discussion with military bloggers, Vladimir Putin said Russia was considering withdrawing from a grain export agreement through Ukrainian Black Sea ports, saying Moscow was “deceived” about its terms on its own exports, Reuters writes.

Putin said the deal would help “friendly” countries in Africa and Latin America, but Europe imports large amounts of Ukrainian grain, which is a key source of foreign currency for Kiev.

Vladimir Putin also said he would discuss the future of the deal with some African leaders expected to visit Russia, saying Moscow was ready to provide free grain to the world’s poorest countries.

The deal was brokered by the UN and Turkey last July and allows safe exports of grain from several Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea.

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