Vladimir Putin rejoices over conquered territories in Ukraine | War in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin (archive)
Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Wednesday that the conflict in Ukraine is “long” and put the risk of a nuclear weapon into perspective.
We haven't gone mad, we know what nuclear weapons are, said Mr Putin, who was speaking by video conference to the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, an organization entirely submitted to the Kremlin.
The Russian president, who has always denied wanting to conquer new territories in Ukraine, has once again justified the offensive he launched there more than nine months ago.
“As for the long process of the results of the special military operation, of course it is a long process.
— Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
The offensive launched on February 24 was supposed to end in a lightning Russian victory, but the Ukrainian army, galvanized by Western weapons, forced Russia to relinquish kyiv in the spring and then, in the fall, to retreat to several other areas.
Responding to one of his interlocutors on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin nevertheless noted that the appearance of new territories was a significant result for Russia.
The Sea of Azov is become an inland sea, it is a serious thing, he proclaimed in reference to this sea which borders Russia and the south-east of Ukraine and of which Moscow now controls all the shore.< /p>
Residents of Kherson, southern Ukraine, view damage to a business after the withdrawal of Russian troops.
Furthermore, Putin in September demanded the annexation of four Ukrainian regions although Russian control there is only partial and daily battles.
This month, the Russian army had to retreat from Kherson, capital of the eponymous region that Russia considers its own. This humiliating withdrawal followed that of northeastern Ukraine in September.
The Kremlin had always denied that its offensive against Ukraine was intended to conquer new territories, claiming to want to defend the Russian-speaking populations and put an end to the alliance between kyiv and the West, considered threatening by Russia.
After several threats from Russian officials in recent months, Putin hinted on Wednesday that Moscow will only use nuclear weapons in response to such an attack.
We considered weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, as a means of defence. [The idea of using it] is built around what is called the retaliatory strike: “if we are hit, we hit back”, added the Russian president.
He nevertheless noted that the threat of nuclear war is growing in view of the Russia-West confrontation over Ukraine and accused the Americans and Europeans of being responsible for it. /p>
A few minutes earlier, during this same meeting by videoconference, Mr. Putin returned to the mobilization of 300,000 reservists, therefore civilians, noting that only half were deployed in Ukraine immediately.
The announcement of the mobilization had provoked an exodus of Russians abroad and exposed the army's serious equipment problems.
M . Putin assured on Wednesday that he does not foresee a new wave at the moment.
Start of the widget. Skip widget? End of widget . Back to top of widget?
On the front, the bombardments continued on Wednesday with in particular six civilians killed and five wounded in a Russian strike on the city of Kurakhove, near Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, where most of the fighting is currently concentrated. .
“A market, a bus station, gas stations and apartment buildings were the targets of strikes .
—Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine
The day before, in Donetsk itself, under the control of pro-Russian separatists since 2014, six civilians had been killed in Ukrainian strikes, according to local authorities.
Given his setbacks on the ground , the Kremlin has decided since October to concentrate attacks on Ukrainian energy installations, thus depriving the population of electricity, even water and heating, at a time when temperatures are below freezing.< /p>
The Russian army thus fired a barrage of some 70 missiles at Ukrainian infrastructure on Monday, causing only moderate destruction, however, according to kyiv, which claims to have intercepted 60 of these warheads thanks to its anti-aircraft defense, partly provided by its Western allies.
The conflict has also taken a heavy toll on Ukraine's wildlife with the deaths of thousands of dolphins in the Black Sea in recent months, an ecocide denounced on Wednesday by Mr. Ze lensky.
According to him, the Ukrainians are collecting evidence of these crimes and intend to hold Russia accountable.