Putin was seemingly caught in a slip of the tongue as he made a rare admission on Russian war losses. On Tuesday, the Russian president hosted a press conference with military bloggers and war reporters during which he was pressed on Moscow’s response to the Ukrainian counter-offensive, officially launched on June 4. Putin called the operation a “large-scale counter-offensive” powered by “reserves that had been stockpiled to this end”.
Despite taking place “in several directions”, this Ukrainian attack is not being “successful in any sector”, with Kyiv suffering “big losses”, he claimed.
After claiming Russian losses “are one-tenth of the losses of the Ukrainian forces”, he made the rare choice of providing details of the damages suffered by Moscow’s troops since the beginning of the counter-offensive.
He said: “As for our losses – let the Defence Ministry talk about other indicators and personnel – I said they lost over 160 tanks and we lost 54 tanks, some of which can be restored and repaired.”
Elsewhere, the president also said Ukraine has lost more than 360 armoured vehicles too, adding “this is only what we are seeing”.
He also said: “There are also losses that we don’t see. They are inflicted by long-range precision weapons at masses of personnel and equipment.
“So, in reality, Ukraine has sustained heavier losses. By my calculations, these losses are about 25 or maybe 30 per cent of the equipment supplied from abroad.
“It seems to me they would agree with this if they count objectively. But, as far as I know from open Western sources, it seems that this is what they say.”
The claim regarding Kyiv’s losses when it comes to vehicles was not supported by Oryx, an independent analyst of battlefield losses, which instead said to believe fewer than 10 Ukrainian vehicles have been destroyed over the past two weeks.
Ukraine, who confirmed last week its much-anticipated counter-offensive has begun, said on Tuesday to have recaptured a number of villages in the southeastern part of the country.
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Moreover, a Ukrainian missile strike is said to have killed Maj Gen Sergei Goryachev, who would be the first Russian military general to die in more than one year of fighting.
The main focus of Ukraine’s troops at the moment appear to be the border areas of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhya regions.
In his sit down with the press, Putin also tried to explain how unmanned drones have managed to enter Moscow’s skies and allegedly attack the Kremlin, as claimed by Russia in early May in what was described as an attempt to the life of the president.
The Russian leader bizarrely claimed the drones are difficult to shoot down because they are “modern lightweight materials, made of wood”.
During the lengthy conversation with reporters, Putin was also asked who is to blame for the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam on June 6.
Unsurprisingly, the president maintained the line already embraced by the Kremlin earlier this month, saying: “It is clear who is to blame – Ukraine was working at this.”
On the other hand, Ukraine accused “Russian terrorists” of carrying out the humanitarian and environmental disaster since the crisis started.
Kyiv has also claimed to have proof, in the form of an audio clip, Russians are behind the breach of the plant.