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15 Jun, 2023 15:49

Kremlin ridicules top Zelensky aide over ‘kill conscripts’ goal 

Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov wondered whether Mikhail Podoliak was referring to Ukraine’s own troops 
Kremlin ridicules top Zelensky aide over ‘kill conscripts’ goal 

A top adviser to President Vladimir Zelensky must have meant Ukrainian soldiers when he said that Kiev wanted to kill as many conscripts as possible, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested on Thursday.   

Earlier in the day, Mikhail Podoliak offered his take on Ukraine’s current goals in the conflict, claiming that Kiev seeks “to take out as many conscripts as possible… to put more psychological pressure on the Russian army.”  

The adviser also claimed that Ukraine has only one plan for its counteroffensive: “the most brutal advance with the maximum killing of Russians on this route.” He also insisted that Ukraine had not even started its long-delayed push, describing widely reported attempts to breach Russian lines as “testing.”  

When asked to comment on Podoliak’s remarks about conscripts, Peskov quipped: “He must have meant their own [troops].” He also noted that the adviser “can’t know for sure” whether Kiev’s offensive had really started, explaining that Podoliak is not a defense minister.  

Ukraine announced a general mobilization on February 24, 2022, hours after Russia kicked off its military campaign in the country, while banning all male Ukrainian citizens aged 18 to 60 from traveling abroad. Last summer, the country’s defense minister, Aleksey Reznikov, said that Kiev had mobilized some 700,000 people.  

In late May, the Daily Telegraph reported, citing Ukrainian service members, that Kiev is desperately trying to replenish its battlefield losses and that draft notices were being handed out in the streets.  

Meanwhile, Russia ordered a partial mobilization last September, calling to arms some 300,000 reservists. Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that for now there is “no need” to launch a new draft campaign, also noting that over 150,000 people had joined the army as contract soldiers.

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