In a rare admission, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Friday that Russia was suffering “significant losses” in the war against Ukraine.
“In recent days we have seen significant losses in Ukraine, they exceed the classic figure,” he said, according to the Kremlin.
The Russian President also confessed that the Russian forces were facing artillery problems, adding in his remarks that “Yes, we still don’t have enough of these modern weapons, but the defense industry, the military complex -industrial sector of the country is developing rapidly”.
The dispirited comments about Moscow’s prospects in the war come just as Ukraine has launched a series of counter-offensives to drive Russian forces out of the country.
The acknowledgment deviates dramatically from typical Moscow messages. Putin and other Kremlin officials have long sought to portray the invasion as a success throughout the war, despite a series of staggering losses and failed war plans. In March last year, Putin claimed operations were going according to plan, despite the failure of the Russian military to capture the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, in an embarrassing defeat.
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However, it does not appear that Putin has completely thrown in the towel just yet. The Russian president has tried to throw cold water on the idea that Ukraine is fully successful in its counter-offensive. However, he added that the Ukrainian army could still achieve victory on the battlefield.
“It can be said that all counter-offensive attempts made so far have failed, but the offensive potential of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has always been preserved,” Putin said.
The Kremlin strove to meet Russia’s expectations for the outcome of the war. Moscow recently circulated a memo to propagandists suggesting that Russia did not underestimate Ukrainian forces, in an apparent effort to set the stage for a less humiliating defeat.
Russian casualties, according to an update shared Friday by the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, are mounting. Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces have carried out “unsuccessful offensive operations near Bilogorivka” on the Lyman axis, the Ukrainian government said. The Russians also carried out offensives near Bohdanivka on the Bakhmut axis, “but without success”, the update says, noting that Russia also carried out failed operations at Severne and Nevels’ke, in addition to losses at Marina.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russia has lost around 213,770 troops since the launch of the invasion in February last year.
In early May, the White House National Security Council assessed that Russian forces had suffered 100,000 casualties since December.
According to a report by Moscow time. Despite stated recruiting targets of 400,000 soldiers this year, recruiting efforts have reportedly fallen short of targets.
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Ukraine, however, still has tough battles to fight.
In remarks to soldiers on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that Ukrainian soldiers “are in particularly tough battles these days.”
“We see your heroism and are grateful for every minute of your life,” Zelensky said Friday.
U.S. officials say Ukraine is suffering significant losses, according to CNN.
The Ukrainian government’s message on the counter-offensive recognizes that there is still room for failure. Zelensky has admitted in recent weeks that large numbers of Ukrainian soldiers are likely to perish in the fighting.
Ukrainian officials say they desperately need more weapons and equipment from Western allies.
The Biden administration will send an additional $2.1 billion in military aid to Ukraine, including air defense and munitions, the Pentagon announced Friday. The new package will include ammunition for Patriot air defense systems and 105mm and 203mm artillery shells, among other equipment, training and support.
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