Putin Reveals Nearly 700,000 Russian Troops Engaged in Ukraine Offensive

World » UKRAINE | June 15, 2024, Saturday // 09:45
Bulgaria: Putin Reveals Nearly 700,000 Russian Troops Engaged in Ukraine Offensive

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated yesterday on television that nearly 700,000 Russian military personnel are currently engaged in the offensive in Ukraine, as reported by AFP. "We have almost 700,000 people in the area of the special military operation," Putin said during a televised meeting with soldiers recognized for their military achievements, using the official term for the operation that commenced in February 2022, according to AFP.

In a statement last December, the Russian president had noted that the number of military personnel involved in the operation was around 617,000. The latest figure signifies a considerable increase in troop numbers.

AFP recalls that in May, Russia initiated a large-scale offensive in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine. "We were simply forced to extend the front line to Kharkiv Oblast to reduce terrorist attacks on Belgorod and other populated areas," Putin said. However, DPA notes that Russia has only advanced a few kilometers in this sector of the front line.

"If the enemy continues to do what he has done so far, then we will decide what to do to protect our cities," Putin warned, hinting at the possibility of an expanded Russian offensive. "10, 15, or 17 kilometers" will not entirely prevent the Ukrainians from shelling Russian cities, but the danger is gradually decreasing, he added, stressing the need for caution.

Despite Russia's numerical superiority on the front, Ukraine is struggling to mobilize after more than two years of bloody and devastating hostilities, AFP notes. In February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reported that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed.

Russia has not reported its manpower losses in its operation in Ukraine. The last published figures, from September 2022, indicated that 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed. However, numerous independent analyses and some Western intelligence services estimate the losses to be at least tens of thousands.

Yesterday, on the eve of the summit in Switzerland dedicated to exploring ways to achieve peace in Ukraine, to which Russia was not invited, Putin effectively set Ukraine's capitulation as a precondition for negotiations, AFP notes. Ukrainian President Zelensky rejected this notion, describing Putin's stance as a "Hitler-style ultimatum," the agency adds.

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