Putin ‘trying to deflect responsibility for military failure’, UK says | Daily News Byte


Vladimir Putin has tried to deflect responsibility for his sickening war in Ukraine by holding “choreographed” televised meetings with top Russian officials involved in the invasion, the UK has suggested.

As their war grinds into its 10th month, with the onset of winter, the Russian president last Friday visited what Russian media reported to be his Ukraine command headquarters, the location of which was not disclosed.

He was filmed meeting with several senior military officials, including Russia’s Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Secretary Sergei Shoigu.

At headquarters, Mr Putin invited proposals for the next steps in what he calls “special military operations”, according to the British Ministry of Defense (MoD), and his recently appointed commander, Sergei Surovykin, was among those presenting a report.

“In this choreographed meeting Putin probably intended to demonstrate collective responsibility for special military operations,” the ministry said in its “intelligence update” on Tuesday.

“The demonstration aims to deflect Putin’s responsibility for military failures, high death rates and growing public discontent with mobility.”

The television footage was also designed to dispel rumors circulating on social media that Mr Gerasimov had been sacked, the MoD said.

The head of the department, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, gave a full overview of Russia’s progress as he updated MPs on the 300th day of Mr Putin’s war.

Echoing recent suggestions from analysts and Western officials, Mr Wallace told the House of Commons that around 100,000 Russian troops had been “dead, wounded or deserted” since the invasion began and claimed that “on February 24 there was not a single operational commander. Now there’s a charge.”

Sergei Surovykin (L) and Sergei Shoigu (C) during a visit to the joint headquarters of Vladimir Putin.

(EPA/Gavril Grigorov/Sputnik/Kremlin/Pool)

“Russian capabilities are severely hampered by the destruction of more than 4,500 armored and protected vehicles, as well as more than 140 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft,” the defense secretary said.

While Russia now controls about 18 percent of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territories, including parts of Donbas and Crimea seized before the invasion, and Kiev has since reversed more than half of the gains Russia made during Mr Putin’s war, the ministry

Despite attempts to illegally annex Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia in sham referendums, the four Ukrainian regions are fiercely contested, and on Tuesday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with troops in the city of Bakhmut, the scene of the most intense fighting. of the invasion so far.

Speaking as artillery rang out in the background in what he called “the hottest spot on the entire front line”, Mr Zelensky praised the “courage, resilience and strength” of Ukraine’s troops, claiming they had passed through Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Druzhkivka. to reach the city.

“Bakhmut Garh. Our people. Undefeated by the enemy. Those who prove by their bravery that we will endure and not give up what is ours,” he wrote on a telegram.

“Since May, the occupiers have been trying to break our Bakhmut, but time is passing and Bakhmut is already breaking not only the Russian army, but also the Russian mercenaries who came to replace the ruined army of the occupiers,” he said. . A reference to mercenaries from the Wagner Group, who are reported to be leading the Russian invasion there.

Unverified footage on Russian social media appeared to show the group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, standing near an artillery piece and announcing his willingness to meet with Mr Zelensky in Bakhmut, but it was unclear where and when the video was taken.

A local resident walks down the street in the area of ​​the heaviest fighting with the Russian invaders in Bakhmut

(AP Photo/Andrey Andryenko)

The city of Donetsk remained in Ukrainian hands throughout the war, thwarting Moscow’s goal of capturing the entire region. Capturing Bakhmut would cut Ukraine’s supply lines and open the way for Russian forces to push towards key Ukrainian strongholds elsewhere in Donetsk.

Meanwhile, Mr. Putin spent part of his day presenting awards to the Moscow-appointed heads of Ukraine’s four illegally annexed regions, at a ceremony at the Kremlin.

“Our country has often faced challenges and defended its sovereignty,” Mr Putin said. “Now Russia is again facing such a challenge. Soldiers, officers and volunteers are showing outstanding examples of courage and self-sacrifice on the front lines.”

In a video address honoring Russia’s military and security agencies, he praised the security personnel deployed in the four regions and claimed that “the people living there, Russian citizens, count on being protected by you.”

“Yes, it is difficult for you,” he said, acknowledging that the situation in the territories was “extremely difficult”, before adding: “Your duty is to do everything necessary to ensure their safety and the protection of their rights and freedoms.”

Additional reporting by AP


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