Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, spoke extensively about the conflict in Ukraine, ranging between threats of a fresh Russian offensive to seize more Ukrainian territory and declarations that the Kremlin was prepared for peace talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the Kremlin’s openness for peace negotiations with threats of a fresh Russian offensive to seize more Ukrainian territory.
He provided some of the most in-depth commentary about the conflict and his objectives since sending the soldiers into Ukraine more than 15 months ago, speaking during a wide-ranging meeting with Russian military correspondents and war bloggers.
Here is a quick summary of some of Putin’s most important statements:
Putin said that Ukraine’s counteroffensive had resulted in “catastrophic” losses.
He said that on June 4, Ukrainian military built up reserves to conduct the “large-scale” assault, but that the endeavor had failed to yield any results and that Ukraine had lost ten times as many soldiers as Russia. His assertions could not be backed up.
Putin said that while Russia only lost 54 tanks, Ukraine had lost 160 battle tanks and more than 300 other armored vehicles. According to his claims, the amount of Western armored vehicles that were given to Ukraine was between 25% and 30% less due to Ukrainian armor losses.
The American- and German-built Bradley infantry fighting vehicles “are burning really well,” he smirked, adding that Kyiv’s officials must finally comprehend the catastrophic effects of the counteroffensive.
NEW LAND GAINS
In response to purported Ukrainian incursions and shelling of Russia’s border regions, Putin warned Moscow may create what he called a “sanitary zone” to deter Kyiv from carrying out such actions.
“To a depth that would prevent it from striking our territory,” he continued, the zone would stretch.
Putin’s cautious response to the question of how far Russia could go into Ukraine was that “everything will depend on potentials that emerge after the so-called counteroffensive.”
He said, “We will assess the circumstance and determine our future steps. Various plans are in place, depending on the circumstance.
He stated that Russian forces “already were near Kyiv,” alluding to the Kremlin’s failed attempt to seize control of the Ukrainian capital during the early stages of the conflict.
In March 2022, Russian troops withdrew from territories near Kyiv and other northeastern Ukrainian districts. In the following October, under the pressure of a quick Ukrainian counteroffensive, they rapidly withdrew from large portions of the Kharkiv region.
“Are we supposed to go back there or not?” Putin added in a mysterious manner, “Only I could respond.”
THE DAM DESTRUCTION AT KAKHOVKA
Putin once more pointed the finger at Ukraine, claiming that Ukrainian forces had repeatedly blasted the Kakhovka dam with HIMARS rockets before ostensibly detonating explosives to destroy it.
In his view, Russia had no justification for destroying the dam. We are definitely not interested in it since it has serious ramifications for the areas we control, he declared.
Putin rejected the Ukrainian claim that Moscow destroyed the dam to prevent Kyiv’s counteroffensive, claiming that due to the overwhelming odds, Russia would have welcomed Ukraine’s attempt to launch an attack in that area.
According to the Russian president, it is up to the US to put an end to the fighting in Ukraine. He maintained that if the US and NATO stopped arming Ukraine, the violence would halt right away.
He asserted that stopping the flow of weapons would be sufficient for them to achieve their goal of a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
Putin claimed that in March 2022, Ukrainian and Russian negotiators signed a peace agreement, but Kyiv derailed the pact in response to pressure from the West. He declared that Russia is still willing to resume discussions.
He claimed that the U.S. is hoping that the Ukrainian counteroffensive would succeed in bringing down Russia. Putin countered that “many reasonable people” in the U.S. administration do not want to escalate the situation to a third world war in which there will be no winners.
Putin, who ordered the mobilization of 300,000 reservists as Russia faced a Ukrainian counteroffensive last fall, would not rule out a second round of mobilization, saying it will depend on the changing military situation.
However, he highlighted that there is now no need for it. According to Putin, the military has already enlisted 156,000 volunteers this year, eliminating the need to call up more reservists.
He said that he did not believe martial law should be imposed, as some Russian hawks have recommended.
Putin noted a strong increase in production in Russia’s military industries. In the last year, the output of Russian defense industry, according to him, has surged 2.7 times, and it has multiplied by ten in several important industries.
Putin stated that Moscow was considering withdrawing from the agreement allowing for the export of grain from Ukrainian ports to the Black Sea.
According to Putin, Western nations have not kept their word to lift limitations on banking, insurance, and shipping that were included in the deal that Turkey and the U.N. mediated in July 2022 in order to allow the sale of Russian agricultural products.
He asserted that Ukraine had also launched drones against Russian navy ships via the sea corridor established under the agreement for commercial ships.
Putin said that Russia extended the agreement multiple times and signed it in order to aid some of the world’s poorest nations.
He said that if Moscow chooses to withdraw from the agreement, it would freely supply those nations with the same quantity of grain that Ukraine would have provided under the terms of the accord. He stated that he intended to talk about the plans with the leaders of numerous African nations who would shortly be visiting the Russian capital.