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14 Dec, 2023 22:17

Kiev sending its soldiers to die – Putin

Ukraine is forcing its troops to defend a tiny foothold on the Russian-controlled bank of the Dnieper, the president has said
Kiev sending its soldiers to die – Putin

The Ukrainian leadership has grown desperate in the wake of its failed summer counteroffensive, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the press at his ‘Results of the Year’ media event on Thursday.

Putin spoke about an ongoing operation in which Kiev has sent its troops on a “one way trip” to a tiny beachhead on the Russian-controlled bank of the Dnieper River in Kherson Region.

Ukrainian media outlets have been claiming over the past months that Kiev’s troops managed to secure a position on the left bank of the Dnieper River near the village of Krynki and have been “expanding” their presence in the area, while supposedly forcing Russian troops to retreat.

The president commented on the situation on Thursday, saying Kiev’s actions essentially amount to sending troops to be “exterminated.” He called it Ukraine’s "last attempt” to stage an attack after it “failed to achieve anything anywhere” in its much-touted summer counteroffensive.

“I don't even know why they do that,” the president said, adding that the Ukrainian soldiers themselves call the operations in the area a “one way trip.” According to Putin, the Ukrainian Armed Forces deliver reinforcements and supplies to the beachhead from the opposite river bank with boats that are under the constant fire from Russian artillery.

Russia’s losses in the area have been relatively limited and mostly amount to soldiers suffering non-lethal injuries, the president said, adding that Ukraine is losing troops “by the dozens.” Moscow’s troops have turned the Ukrainian beachhead into a “killing ground,” Putin said, calling the developments a “tragedy” for Ukraine. However, Kiev continues to sacrifice its troops in the area for political reasons, he added.

A Ukrainian soldier fighting near Krynki described the situation in the area as “hell” and recalled how boats full of Ukrainian soldiers had been blown out of the water in attempts to reach the beachhead. He also spoke about how it felt to be abandoned by Kiev’s military commanders.

“Those are not just regular Ukrainian soldiers, those are the elite assault teams that are relatively few,” the president said, adding that the losses near Krynki must be quite “sensitive” for Kiev.

Earlier, Ukrainian media outlets claimed that the Russians were unable to push the Ukrainians out of the area. According to Putin, Moscow does not even want to. “I would say it plainly: it is advantageous for us that they [the Ukrainian Armed Forces] are just mindlessly throwing their personnel in there,” he said, adding that he told the Russian General Staff chief, Valery Gerasimov, not to launch any major attempts to reclaim lost territory in the area.

Kiev launched its counteroffensive in early June. In late November, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky publicly acknowledged that the much-hyped operation had ended without success. The Ukrainian attacks had largely failed to bring about any notable changes to the front lines during the six-month offensive.

According to Russian Defense Ministry estimates, Ukraine has lost over 125,000 troops and 16,000 pieces of heavy equipment in failed attempts to move forward over the past half year.