President Putin insists Russian invasion of Ukraine is the right decision –

Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin said he had no plans “for now” to launch massive airstrikes like those carried out this week, which have seen more than 100 long-range missiles fired at targets across Ukraine.

“We do not set ourselves the task of destroying Ukraine. No, of course not,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the end of a summit in Kazakhstan on Friday.

He added that the reservists’ call-up would be complete in two weeks and promised an end to the divisive mobilization that saw hundreds of thousands of men called to fight in Ukraine and large numbers fleeing the country.

Putin defended the mobilization order, telling a press conference that the front line was too long to be defended with contract soldiers alone. He ordered the call-up to step up fighting along a 1,100 km (684 miles) front line where Ukrainian counter-offensives have dealt a blow to Moscow’s military prestige.


Putin said 222,000 of an expected 300,000 reservists have already been mobilized. “This work is coming to an end,” he said.

Since the mobilization order was issued, Russian forces have continued to lose ground in eastern Ukraine and have also lost significant territory in the south.

Even some of Putin’s own supporters have criticized the Kremlin’s handling of the war and increased pressure on it to do more to turn the tide in Russia’s favour.

After attending the summit of regional leaders from Asia and Eastern Europe, Putin said he had no regrets sending troops to Ukraine nearly eight months ago.

“What’s happening today is uncomfortable, to say the least,” he said. “But we would have had it all a little later, just under worse conditions for us, that’s all. So my actions are right and timely.”

Troop mobilization has been troubled from the start with confusion over who is eligible for conscription in a country where almost all men under the age of 65 are registered as reservists.

Russia’s leader said all activated recruits would receive the necessary training and he would task the Russian Security Council with “conducting an inspection of how mobilized citizens are trained.”

However, reports have shown that recruits deployed to the front lines in Ukraine have received little training and inadequate equipment. Several mobilized reservists have reportedly died in combat in Ukraine this week.

When asked about the possibility of extended conscription, the Russian president said the Defense Ministry had not asked him to approve it. “I don’t see any need for it in the foreseeable future. Nothing further is planned.”

However, some questioned the veracity of Putin’s comments.

“Don’t believe Putin about ‘two weeks’. The mobilization can only be canceled by his decree. No decree – no repeal,” wrote Vyacheslav Gimadi, a lawyer for the anti-corruption foundation of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, on Facebook.

The momentum of the war has shifted to Ukraine as its military recapture towns and villages that Russia captured earlier in the war.

According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, Ukrainian forces reported that they recaptured 75 settled settlements in northern Kherson region last month.

A similar campaign in eastern Ukraine resulted in most of the Kharkiv region returning to Ukrainian control, as well as parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the ministry said.

Konstantin, a Kherson resident who withheld his last name for security reasons, said convoys of military trucks drove through the region’s capital and eventually abandoned it. Most government agencies are reducing working hours and schools are closed, he said.

“The city is now in suspense. In the first place, the Russian military left the headquarters and the family of the collaborators,” said Konstantin. “Everyone is discussing and preparing for the upcoming arrival of the Ukrainian military.”

Putin repeated claims that Russia was ready for peace talks and blamed Kyiv for the lack of negotiations.

“We even made some agreements in Istanbul [in the spring]’ Putin said, thanking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his mediation efforts.

“These agreements were actually almost initialed. But as soon as the [Russian] When troops left Kyiv, the Kiev authorities immediately lost interest in negotiations.”

Ukraine officially rejected any possibility of negotiations with Putin after last month he illegally annexed Ukraine’s Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions as Russian territory following “referendums” that Kyiv and the West called a sham.

Putin has promised harsh retaliation if Ukraine or its allies attack Russian territory, including Ukraine’s annexed regions. The Russian region of Belgorod, on the border with Ukraine, was attacked for a second day on Friday.

Ukrainian shelling blew up an ammunition depot in Belgorod on Thursday, killing and wounding an unspecified number of people, according to the Russian investigative committee.

“We have buried the myth of the invincibility of the Russian army,” General Valeriy Zaluzhny, commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, said in a video message on Friday, promising to liberate all Russian-held territories.

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