Highlights of Putin and Shoigu’s latest statements on war in Ukraine
Sergei Shoigu and Vladimir Putin at the meeting of the Board of the Russian Defense Ministry (Photo:Sputnik/Sergei Fadeichev/Pool via REUTERS)
A high-level, widely-publicized Russian Defense Ministry meeting was held in Moscow on Dec. 21, during which Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu both spoke at length.
NV collected some of the highlights of Putin and Shoigu's speeches on the war against Ukraine and their plans for the Russian army.
On war against Ukraine
Russia plans to continue its "special military operation" in Ukraine next year, "until (our) objectives are met," Shoigu said, without specifying which objectives he had in mind. Since the beginning of the full-scale war, the Kremlin has repeatedly changed its declared war goals.
Shoigu alleged that the Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered significant losses during the war, while claiming that Moscow’s troops managed to destroy a significant part of Ukraine’s weapons and equipment. According to Ukraine’s General Staff, as of Dec. 21, Russian troop losses have reached lost 99,740.
Russia also apparently has plans to utilize the infrastructure it seized in occupied Ukrainian territories.
"Today, ports in Berdyansk and Mariupol are fully functioning," the minister said, adding that "the Sea of Azov has once again become Russia's inland sea".
“We plan to deploy supply vessels, emergency rescue services, and naval maintenance ships there.”
Minister Shoigu admitted that there were problems during the mobilization for the war against Ukraine – announced on Sept. 21 – but did not go into much detail.
"The system of mobilization training was not fully adapted to the new (post-Soviet) economic relations,” he said.
“Therefore, with the beginning of partial mobilization, we faced difficulties with notifying and conscripting of reservists.”
According to him, more than 300,000 Russian citizens were called up for the war against Ukraine “to stabilize the situation, protect new territories, and conduct further offensive actions.” At the same time, 830,000 people were exempted from conscription “to support the economy.”
In the future, Russian Armed Forces will grow to include 1.5 million people (an increase of 350,000), 695,000 of whom will be professional servicemen. At the same time, conscription age limits are planned to be changed from 18-27 years to 21-30 years.
On changes in the army
To prepare the troops, the Kremlin wants to innovate, having studied NATO experience and tactics. According to Putin, Russia allegedly gathered data about NATO forces over the course of the war in Ukraine.
In addition, he wants to equip Russian army units with UAVs and develop Russia's nuclear triad, which includes strategic aviation, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and nuclear submarines.
"This is the main guarantee of preserving our sovereignty and territorial integrity, strategic parity, and the overall balance of power in the world," Putin said.
He added that there are no limits on state financing of the Russian Armed Forces, but assured that there will be no militarization of the Russian economy.
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