Putin Warns of Further Annexation Attempts in Ukraine to Secure Border Regions

by Sophia Chen
Ukraine-Russia conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement on Tuesday suggesting the possibility of ordering Russian troops to seize additional land in Ukraine as a means of safeguarding the Russian border. However, this threat carries dubious credibility as the Kremlin lacks complete control over the territories it has already annexed.

In his most extensive remarks about the ongoing conflict in months, Putin claimed that Ukrainian forces had suffered significant losses in a recent counteroffensive. He reassured the Russian public that there were no immediate plans for a new troop mobilization but did not rule out the possibility of a future call-up. Additionally, Putin reiterated Russia’s assertion that Ukraine was responsible for the explosion of a dam on the Dnieper River, which resulted in extensive flooding on both sides of the front line.

Putin made these remarks during an open meeting with military journalists and bloggers, following reports that Ukrainian troops had captured several villages in the initial stages of their counteroffensive. The objective of the counteroffensive is to push Russian troops out of the four regions of Ukraine that the Kremlin illegally annexed last autumn. This meeting, which lasted over two hours, took place after Russian missile strikes caused the deaths of at least 11 people in central Ukraine overnight.

According to Putin, Ukraine’s counteroffensive has not been successful. He claimed that Ukraine lost 160 tanks and over 360 other armored vehicles, while Russia lost 54 tanks since the beginning of the assault. These figures cannot be independently verified as Ukrainian officials typically do not disclose information about losses.

The White House did not immediately respond to Putin’s claims, and a U.S. official familiar with American intelligence dismissed Putin’s comments as inaccurate. The official cautioned against accepting Russia’s public assessments. However, the official did not provide specific details regarding the misleading nature of Putin’s claims.

Putin expressed his consideration of establishing a “sanitary zone” on Ukrainian territory, preventing any encroachment onto Russian soil. However, it remains uncertain whether Russia can afford to expand its gains in Ukraine while defending against the evolving counteroffensive along the extensive front line, which spans over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles).

In recent weeks, Russia’s border areas have experienced escalating attacks, with the Kremlin accusing Ukrainian forces of incursions and drone strikes. While Ukrainian authorities have not confirmed their involvement in these attacks, they have indirectly welcomed them. Russian volunteer units sympathetic to Ukraine have claimed responsibility for some of the incursions.

Local leaders in Russia have pleaded with the Kremlin to increase efforts in protecting residents, leading Putin to acknowledge that Russian authorities should have foreseen and prepared for these attacks. Russia had better control over the border earlier in the conflict when they held more adjacent Ukrainian territory. However, under the pressure of a Ukrainian counteroffensive, Kremlin forces withdrew from much of it last autumn.

Putin’s lengthy meeting with military bloggers and war correspondents, alongside traditional news media, underscored the significance of these individuals in conveying the Kremlin’s perspective.

In addition to his remarks about the war, Putin made several other statements:

  • He highlighted Russia’s increased production of drones and other weapons in the defense industry but noted the need for more. He also claimed that the West was struggling to produce sufficient weapons and ammunition.

  • Putin suggested that Russia might withdraw from a U.N.-backed deal allowing grain shipments from Ukraine through a demilitarized Black Sea maritime corridor.

  • He argued that the United States could end the war by halting weapons shipments to Ukraine, thereby weakening their ability to continue fighting.

  • Putin asserted that the West would eventually realize its failure in Ukraine, emphasizing that their desired outcome would never materialize.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department announced that the United States would send a new military aid package worth up to $325 million to Ukraine. The package includes rockets, missiles, and other munitions.

Putin derided the alleged losses suffered by Ukrainian forces, including the destruction of high-tech Western equipment provided to Kyiv. He specifically mentioned German-made Leopard battle tanks and U.S.-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles as being susceptible to damage.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry released a video claiming to show a captured Leopard 2 tank and a Bradley fighting vehicle taken from Ukrainian forces. The video, allegedly filmed after intense fighting in Zaporizhzhia, could not be immediately verified for its authenticity.

Ukrainian officials have displayed a similarly resolute stance to Putin, vowing to win the war. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy insisted that Ukraine would not relent until the entire country was liberated from Russian control.

In contrast to Putin’s pessimistic view of Ukraine’s progress in the counteroffensive, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg informed President Joe Biden that Ukrainians were making progress. Stoltenberg expressed the belief that this progress could strengthen Ukraine’s position in future peace talks.

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Hanna Maliar, stated that Ukrainian forces were continuing their offensive in four areas in the south and east. The head of Ukraine’s ground troops reported that forces were advancing outside Bakhmut in the east and claimed that Russian forces were losing ground on the flanks.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian authorities reported that at least 11 people were killed and 36 wounded in a Russian missile strike on Kryvyi Rih, President Zelenskyy’s hometown. Images shared by Zelenskyy displayed the aftermath of the attack, with firefighters battling a blaze and damaged vehicles scattered throughout the area.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that long-range air-launched cruise missiles were used to target Ukrainian military reserves and depots holding Western weapons and ammunition. However, specific details regarding the locations and timing were not provided.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ukraine-Russia conflict

What is the main issue in the Ukraine-Russia conflict?

The main issue in the Ukraine-Russia conflict is the territorial dispute between the two countries, with Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories being a major point of contention.

What did Putin suggest in his recent remarks about Ukraine?

In his recent remarks, Putin suggested that he could order Russian troops to seize more land in Ukraine to protect the bordering Russian territory.

Are Putin’s threats credible?

The credibility of Putin’s threats is questionable since the Kremlin lacks full control over the areas it has already annexed. Additionally, the risk of expanding gains in Ukraine while defending against the ongoing counteroffensive raises doubts about the feasibility of such actions.

What is the current status of the Ukrainian counteroffensive?

According to Putin, the Ukrainian counteroffensive has been unsuccessful. However, Ukrainian officials claim progress in their efforts to push Russian troops out of the regions illegally annexed by Russia.

What is the response from the United States?

The White House did not immediately react to Putin’s claims. However, a U.S. official familiar with American intelligence dismissed Putin’s comments as inaccurate and advised against giving credibility to Russia’s public assessments.

What other topics did Putin address during his meeting?

During the meeting, Putin discussed Russia’s defense industry, potential withdrawal from a U.N.-backed deal, the possibility of the United States halting weapons shipments to Ukraine, and his belief that the West will eventually fail in Ukraine.

Are there casualties reported in recent attacks?

Yes, Ukrainian authorities reported at least 11 people killed and 36 wounded in a Russian missile strike on the city of Kryvyi Rih. The attack targeted residential areas and resulted in significant damage.

What is the position of NATO regarding the conflict?

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that Ukrainians are making progress in their counteroffensive, which could strengthen their position in future peace talks. He expressed support for Ukraine’s efforts.

Is there any assistance provided to Ukraine by the United States?

The U.S. State Department announced a new military aid package worth up to $325 million for Ukraine, including rockets, missiles, and other munitions to support their defense efforts.

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Mike123 June 14, 2023 - 1:44 am

i don’t trust putin’s claims about ukrainian losses. he’s just trying to manipulate the narrative and justify his actions. it’s important to rely on verified sources and independent assessments to get a clearer picture of what’s really happening.

John Doe June 14, 2023 - 5:11 am

putin is threatnin to seize more land in ukraine, like seriously??! he cant even control what he already took smh. the situation there is a mess and innocent people are suffering. hope there can be a peaceful solution soon.

Jane Smith June 14, 2023 - 5:12 am

omg, russia’s missile strikes and the casualties in ukraine are so tragic. it’s heartbreaking to see the destruction and loss of life. i hope international efforts can help de-escalate the situation and bring peace to the region.

Sara82 June 14, 2023 - 1:24 pm

it’s concerning to see the tensions between russia and the west escalating. i hope diplomatic channels remain open and countries can find a way to resolve their differences without further bloodshed. innocent civilians should never have to suffer because of political conflicts.

Alexandra88 June 14, 2023 - 11:05 pm

the aid package from the united states to ukraine is a positive step. it shows support for ukraine’s defense efforts and helps them stand against russian aggression. it’s crucial for the international community to stand together and condemn any unlawful actions.


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