Putin: Ukraine “Throwing Their Soldiers On Our Minefields, Under Our Artillery Fire, As If They Are Not Their Own Citizens”


Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking to the BRICS Summit on Tuesday

 Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of “senselessly turning its own soldiers into cannon fodder,” Russia Today reports. “They are throwing (their soldiers) on our minefields, under our artillery fire, acting as if they are not their own citizens at all. It is astonishing,” Putin said. The Washington Post reported that some NATO states prefer Ukrainians continue “fighting and dying” over “a peace that comes too early.”

Even in the face of relentless attacks by NATO-supplied Ukrainian Army troops, Putin called the situation on the front line ”stable” at a meeting with the acting head of the breakaway Lugansk People’s Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, in the Kremlin Wednesday.

As Ukraine throws its last strategic reserves into the “Counter-Offensive” in Southern Ukraine, including the elite 82nd Air Assault Brigade, going remains tough, with the Russian Ministry of Defense claiming Ukrainian losses of approx. 700 men per day since the weekend. Assault units of the Ukrainian armed forces’ 46th Airmobile Brigade suffered “significant losses,” according to Russia’s Izvestia.

Experts interviewed by Izvestia believe Ukraine “will have no personnel left with which to mount further attacks given Kiev’s catastrophic losses in its flailing counteroffensive,” TASS reports.  “Ukrainian units are now operating in small mobile groups, which are relying on the relatively high speed and safety of US-provided Stryker armored personnel carriers,  attempting to cut off Russian forward positions, with little to no success thus far,” Izvestia claims.

“Ukrainian formations are trying to demonstrate at least some signs of success. They are trying to break through to Tokmak, the Sea of Azov, but they can’t pull it off. The enemy is suffering significant losses. Everything suggests that soon they will have nothing left to attack with. But for the time being, we are seeing unrelenting, heavy combat,” military expert Vasily Dandykin told Izvestia.

Ukrainian POW Sergei Rosko told his Russian captors he had been conscripted off the street and received only cursory medical exams and military training, before being sent to the front lines, with NATO instructors telling Ukrainians the ‘weakened’ Russian army could be quickly defeated. The Ukrainian soldiers came under fire from Russian artillery even before reaching the front lines, Rosko said. ‘I was hit by an explosion, I don’t know exactly by what. They just left me behind. When I came to my senses, I crawled to the nearest trench, where I lay for two or three days, after which Russian soldiers saw me, pulled me out of the trench, provided medical assistance,  and took me to the hospital,” Rosko said. He charged that Ukrainian commanders “do not go halfway to their positions”, preferring to “stay at a distance from the line of contact.”

American and other Western officials complained that “Ukraine’s grinding counteroffensive is struggling to break through entrenched Russian defenses in large part because it has too many troops, including some of its best combat units, in the wrong places,” The New York Times reports.

“As casualties continue to mount and Russia still holds an edge in troops and equipment,”  American top brass “have advised Ukraine to concentrate on … punching through Russian minefields and other defenses, even if the Ukrainians lose more soldiers and equipment in the process”, the New York Times writes.

“Even the most experienced units have been reconstituted a number of times after taking heavy casualties”, NYT reports. These units “rely on a shrinking cadre of senior commanders. Some platoons are mostly staffed by soldiers who have been wounded and returned to fight.”

In a video teleconference on Aug. 10, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley and his British counterpart, Adm. Sir Tony Radakin “urged Ukraine’s most senior military commander, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, to focus on one main front”, the NYT writes, rather than dispersing their troops between North and South fronts. Russia has been advancing toward Kupyansk and Kharkiv in the North as Ukraine tries to drive through to Crimea and Mariupol in the South.

“Some analysts say the progress may be too little too late,” the NYT reports. “The fighting is taking place on mostly flat, unforgiving terrain, which favors the defenders. The Russians are battling from concealed positions that Ukrainian soldiers often see only when they are feet away. Hours after Ukrainians clear a field of mines, the Russians sometimes fire another rocket that disperses more of them at the same location.”

Ukraine’s main assault forces “may run out of steam by mid- to late September”, the NYT writes, as rain and mud set in. “While fighting could continue for months, U.S. and other Western officials say Ukraine’s counteroffensive would not have enough decisive firepower to reclaim much of the 20 percent of the country that Russia occupies.”

U.S. officials acknowledge that the Ukrainians “have not had the success that they or their allies hoped for when the push began”, the NYT reports, quoting General Milley as calling  the past two months of the counteroffensive “long, bloody and slow.”

“It’s taken longer than Ukraine had planned,” Milley said. “But they are making limited progress.”

The Washington Post reported that some NATO states prefer Ukrainians continue “fighting and dying” over “a peace that comes too early,” rejecting any outcome that could be sold as a “victory” for Moscow. “Even a Ukrainian vow not to join NATO could be a concern to some neighbors,” the WaPo reported. “That leads to an awkward reality: For some in NATO, it’s better for the Ukrainians to keep fighting, and dying, than to achieve a peace that comes too early or at too high a cost to Kyiv and the rest of Europe.”

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