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Putin Hails Russia's Military Performance In Ukraine And He Vows To Achieve Moscow's Goals

Putin's speech at a meeting with top military brass came a day after he presented documents to Russia's Central Election Commission to seek reelection in the March presidential vote that he's all but certain to win.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
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Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Tuesday that the military has seized the initiative on the battlefield in Ukraine after repelling Kyiv's counteroffensive and is well positioned to achieve Moscow's goals.

Putin's speech at a meeting with top military brass came a day after he presented documents to Russia's Central Election Commission to seek reelection in the March presidential vote that he's all but certain to win. “Our troops are holding the initiative,” he said. “We are effectively doing what we think is needed, doing what we want. Where our commanders consider it necessary to stick to active defences they are doing so, and we are improving our positions where it's needed.”

The Russian leader hailed the troops for repelling Ukrainian attacks during the summer counteroffensive. “The enemy has suffered heavy casualties and to a large extent wasted its reserves while trying to show at least some results of its so-called counteroffensive to its masters,” Putin said, adding that "the myth about invulnerability of Western weapons also has collapsed".

“All attempts by the West to deliver us a military defeat, a strategic defeat, were shattered by the courage and fortitude of our soldiers, the growing might of our armed forces and the potential of our military industries,” Putin said. During the counteroffensive that began in early June, Ukrainian forces have failed to make any significant gains as they faced multiecheloned Russian defensive lines, including sprawling minefields.

Speaking at the same meeting, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the Russian minefields spread for 7,000 km (more than 4,300 miles). Shoigu said 650,000 Russian soldiers have received combat experience in Ukraine, turning the Russian army into “the best prepared and capable army in the world, armed with advanced weapons that have been tested in combat”.

“Despite the sanctions, we produce more high-tech weapons than NATO countries,” Shoigu said. He declared that the Russian arms industries have increased the output of tanks by 5.6 times, the number of drones built by 16.8 times and bolstered the production of artillery munitions by 17.5 times since the start of what the Kremlin calls “the special military operation” in Ukraine. Shoigu said the military has received more than 1,500 new and modernised tanks, more than 2,500 armoured infantry vehicles and 237 new planes and helicopters.

While hailing the military's performance, Putin noted the need to improve military communications, streamline the use of intelligence and counterartillery means, and increase supplies of precision munitions and drones. He added that Russia also needs to expand the capability of its satellite assets. Putin particularly emphasised the importance of bolstering the country's nuclear forces, saying that their role has increased amid “the changing character of military threats and the emergence of new military-political risks”.

Putin reaffirmed his long-held argument that he sent Russian troops into Ukraine to counter security threats to Russia posed by Western plans to incorporate the country in NATO. Ukraine and its Western allies have denounced the move by Moscow as an unprovoked act of aggression. Shoigu charged that military personnel from NATO countries operate Ukraine's air defence systems, multiple rocket launchers and tactical missile systems and also help plan military operations and train troops. He didn't provide specifics to support his claim.

“The West isn't abandoning its strategy of containment of Russia and its aggressive goals in Ukraine,” Putin said. "Well, we also aren't going to abandon the goals of the special military operation.”

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