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4 Sep, 2023 17:00

Ukraine's counteroffensive has 'failed' – Putin

Kiev’s forces haven’t managed to break Russian lines despite ten days of “violent attacks,” MOD chief Sergey Shoigu added
Ukraine's counteroffensive has 'failed' – Putin

Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive has not “stalled” but failed, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared on Monday. With Ukrainian losses mounting and Kiev ramping up its conscription efforts, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu affirmed his commander-in-chief's assessment.

The Ukrainian operation “is not stalled; it is a failure,” Putin declared, following talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the resort city of Sochi.

“At least, this is how it looks today,” he continued. “Let’s see what happens next. I hope this will continue to be the case.”

In early June, Kiev launched its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russian forces, using Western-provided tanks and armored vehicles to attack multiple points along the Kherson-Donetsk frontline. According to Russian figures, advancing through minefields and without air support, Ukraine lost at least 43,000 men in the first two months of the operation alone. It failed to penetrate even the first line of Russia’s multi-layered defensive network.

The Ukrainian military has since switched tactics, relying on lighter and more mobile infantry units to seize individual buildings and positions. However, losses remain high, and with Russian forces effectively countering these advances with drone-corrected artillery fire, Kiev is urgently seeking to draft more troops. 

Ukraine has loosened its medical requirements for military service and is reportedly considering extraditing draft dodgers who managed to flee the country since last February.

In separate remarks to the media on Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu confirmed Putin’s assessment of the counteroffensive. “Today everything is exactly as our president said,” Shoigu declared. The minister noted that the Ukrainian military has "for the last ten days at least" been carrying out "violent attacks with large forces,” but has not managed to break Russia’s defenses.

Much of the fighting over the last two weeks has centered around the village of Rabotino, located in the Zaporozhye sector of the front and near the city of Artyomovsk/Bakhmut in the Donetsk Region. Although Kiev and its Western backers claim to be making incremental progress at Rabotino, The Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday that it repelled a Ukrainian attack on the village the previous night, killing up to 115 Ukrainian troops and destroying multiple armored vehicles and US-made artillery guns.