April 14, 2024 04:05:30 booked.net

Russia-Ukraine War, as Putin Acknowledges Difficulties in Ukrainian Occupied Territories

Vladimir Putin has made a rare admission of his country’s military challenges in the 10-month-old war in Ukraine as Volodymyr Zelensky visited a key city in eastern Ukraine that Moscow has failed to capture despite months of relentless shelling.

In a video message to Russia’s security services, Putin said the situation in the four Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions was “extremely complicated”, and urged security agencies to intensify their efforts to identify “traitors, spies and diversionists”.

The video was released on a special holiday dedicated to Russia’s powerful security services.

Putin’s speech once again highlighted Moscow’s growing acknowledgment that the war in Ukraine is not going to plan. Earlier this month, the Russian leader said the conflict in Ukraine could turn into a “long-term process”, after Moscow was forced to abandon some of the territories it annexed illegally in September, notably fleeing the city of Kherson.

As Putin pointed to Russia’s difficulties in the war on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited troops on the frontline in Bakhmut, a city of roughly 70,000 in Donetsk. Russian forces have tried and failed to capture Bakhmut for months.

The war in Ukraine has been disastrous for the Russian military, which is estimated to have suffered up to 100,000 casualties — an astonishing statistic after less than a year of fighting. Moscow has been isolated both politically and economically over the conflict, with the US and its allies slapping crippling sanctions on Russia as a result of the unprovoked invasion.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the head of the UK’s armed forces, last week said that “Russia is losing” in Ukraine. Radakin added that “it will only get worse for Russia,” pointing to “a critical shortage of artillery munitions.”

“Russian guns have now been firing for almost 300 days” and “the cupboard is bare,” Radakin said.