In the Wake of Military Setbacks, Putin, Unchastened, Threatens More Destruction

While Ukraine’s counteroffensive continues to advance on both the north and south fronts, Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses Ukraine of “terrorist attacks” and threatens more destruction to the long-suffering Ukrainian population.

Putin spoke at an Uzbekistan news conference, where he was publicly criticized by Narendra Modi (Indian Prime Minister) and said that Russia is simply protecting itself from a West-led campaign to “create an anti-Russian enclave” and “rock the boat.”

Putin stated, “Indeed we were quite restrained as our response, but that won’t last forever.” “Recently, the Russian Armed Forces dealt a few sensitive blows in that area. Let’s call these warning shots. Our response will be even more effective if the situation continues as it is.”

“WE ARE NOT FIGHTING WITH A FULL ARMY”: Despite battlefield reports indicating that Russian forces are being pushed back to the northern Kharkiv region and are retaking better defensive positions in southern Kherson provinces, Putin insists everything will go according to plan.

Putin stated, “No, the plan won’t be modified.” “The primary goal is to liberate all of Donbas. Despite attempts by the Ukrainian army to launch an offensive, this work is continuing. We will not stop our offensive operations in Donbas. They go on. They are moving at a slower pace, but they continue to take more territory.

Putin seemed to accept what U.S. officials, and Western experts, have said. Putin is reluctant to order a larger military mobilization and is increasingly relying upon irregular volunteer and proxy troops in the face of a manpower shortfall six months into the war. He said, “I must stress that we are not fighting with a complete army, but with part of contracted forces.” This is tied with certain personnel parameters, and so forth. We are not in a hurry in this regard.

RUSSIAN LOSSES MOUNT – The U.S. estimates Russia has lost as many as 80,000 troops since its initial invasion force. However, the British Defense Ministry claims that Ukraine has destroyed more than 50 combat planes since the beginning of the war.

In its daily intelligence update, the ministry tweeted that Russia has lost at most four combat aircraft in Ukraine in the past 10 days. This brings its total attrition to 55 since the beginning of the invasion.

The British military speculated that Russian pilots are often unable to assess their situation and could have flown into enemy territory or into dense air defense zones. Pilots could also be taking greater risks to protect Russian troops while they retreat.

The ministry tweeted that “Russia’s continuing lack of air superiority is one of the most important contributing factors to its operational fragility in Ukraine.”