(Moscow) Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed on Tuesday the fact that 270,000 Russians have voluntarily joined “over the last six-seven months” the ranks of the army and volunteer formations fighting in Ukraine, in addition to the 300,000 soldiers mobilized last year.
What there is to know
- Vladimir Putin welcomed the fact that 270,000 Russians recently voluntarily joined the ranks of the army, in addition to the 300,000 soldiers mobilized last year;
- The Polish government will unilaterally extend the ban on imports of Ukrainian grain after September 15;
- Ukraine is ready to go to the WTO to demand compensation from Poland, which has decided to extend its ban on the import of Ukrainian grain;
- MEPs voted on Tuesday in favor of strengthening the European defense industry by 2025;
- The upcoming delivery of F-16 combat planes by the West to Kyiv will only “prolong the conflict” in Ukraine, according to Vladimir Putin.
“We carried out a partial mobilization and 300,000 people were enrolled. And over the last six or seven months, 270,000 people have voluntarily signed contracts to serve in the armed forces and volunteer units,” Putin said, estimating that every day another 1,000 to 1,500 people sign a contract.
Since September 2022 and the mobilization ordered by the Russian president, more than half a million Russians have joined the Russian forces to fight in Ukraine, something which the master of the Kremlin welcomed, saluting the patriotism of the people.
They “go there being aware that in the end they will find themselves at the front”, he said, “the moujiks (traditional Russian peasants, Editor’s note), consciously and voluntarily, go to defend the interests of the homeland”.
Mr. Putin did not, however, say, despite a question to this effect from the moderator, whether a new mobilization of reservists was envisaged.
Russia has never revealed how many men participated in the initial February 2022 assault on Ukraine, but Westerners estimated some 150,000 to 190,000 men at the time.
Faced with fierce resistance from the Ukrainians, the Russian army first had to retreat in the north, abandoning the objective of taking Kyiv in the spring of 2022, then had to retreat from the northeast in September in the face of a counterattack. -Ukrainian offensive and finally in November it abandoned the city of Kherson in the south.
These serial retreats led Vladimir Putin to order in September 2022 the mobilization of 300,000 reservists, and to launch a vast campaign to recruit volunteers to fight in Ukraine.
Russia, like Ukraine, does not give an estimate of its losses, but according to Westerners they are considerable.
Last June, Ukraine launched a counter-offensive in the east and south of the country to try to liberate the territories occupied by the Russian army, but the latter retreated behind powerful defense lines. So far, the gains have been limited, and Kyiv is asking its Westerners for more weapons to be able to repel its attacker.
Mr. Putin boasted on Tuesday that this counter-offensive “has no results”, assuring that his forces were inflicting “heavy losses” on Ukraine, without mentioning those suffered by the Russians.