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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Ukraine having ‘no success’ with counteroffensive – Putin

Kiev’s troops have failed to penetrate Russian defenses anywhere along the front line, the president has said

The much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive has seen no success more than a month after it was launched, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview aired on Sunday. Putin praised Russia’s “heroic” troops and insisted that the direction of Moscow’s military campaign was “positive.”

“All attempts by the enemy to breach our defenses… including through the use of strategic reserves have fallen flat throughout the counteroffensive. Our enemy remains unsuccessful,” the Russian leader told journalist Pavel Zarubin.

Read more: Russia will treat F-16s in Ukraine as nuclear threat – Lavrov

According to Putin, Russian troops are launching counterattacks of their own in some sections of the front line and are “taking the most advantageous positions.” The Russian Defense Ministry previously reported that Ukraine has suffered heavy losses and has failed to reach even Russia’s first line of defense on most fronts. The Defense Ministry has also published numerous videos showing damaged or destroyed Ukrainian heavy military equipment, including Western-made tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.

According to the ministry, the Ukrainian military has lost 26,000 men advancing through minefields and without air support during its counteroffensive. The Western media has also acknowledged heavy losses among Ukrainian troops, with Forbes describing them as “disastrous” in late June. The New York Times reported this week that the Ukrainian military lost 20% of the equipment it sent into battle during the first two weeks of the operation.

According to Putin, Russian forces have destroyed 311 Ukrainian tanks since June 4. “At least a third of them, I believe, were Western-made tanks, including Leopards,” Putin told the Russia 24 TV channel on Thursday.

Read more: Military aid to Ukraine makes World War III more likely – ex-Russian President

The slow pace of the counteroffensive has led to friction between Kiev and its Western backers. In June, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky blamed the lack of progress on the West’s hesitancy to send more weapons to Kiev.

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley warned in early July that there should be no illusions about the operation, and that it would be “difficult” and “very, very bloody.”