In a recent address, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu provided insights into the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, inadvertently making a blunder as he hinted that the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine could extend until at least 2025.
Shoigu attributed the extended timeline to what he described as “cynical actions by the West and their henchmen in Kyiv”, without specifying the nature of these actions.
This diplomatic rhetoric suggests that Russia believes external factors are contributing to the continuation of the conflict, in what seemed to be a rare admittance that things aren’t going as well as Putin and the Kremlin had hoped.
Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, he emphasised Russia’s commitment to strengthening its armed forces in the context of the ongoing conflict.
He said: “Cynical actions by the West and their henchmen in Kyiv are only pushing Ukraine towards self-destruction.
“In these circumstances, we continue to build up the combat power of the armed forces.
“In particular by supplying modern weapons and improving the training of troops, taking into account the experience of the special military operation.
“The consistent implementation of the measures in the acronym plan until 2025 will make it possible to achieve than planned goals.
Notably, Shoigu mentioned the “acronym plan until 2025”, although he did not provide specific details about this plan.
He suggested that its consistent implementation would help Russia achieve its objectives in Ukraine by 2025, implying a long-term strategy for the conflict. A far cry from Russia’s initial plan, as the Kremlin believed Russia would take Ukraine in just a few days after the invasion in February 2022.
It comes as Russia on Wednesday (September 27) accused Ukraine’s Western allies of helping plan and conduct last week’s missile strike on the Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters on the annexed Crimean Peninsula.
“There is no doubt that the attack had been planned in advance using Western intelligence means, NATO satellite assets and reconnaissance planes and was implemented upon the advice of American and British security agencies and in close coordination with them,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing.
Moscow has repeatedly claimed that the US and its NATO allies have effectively become involved in the conflict by supplying weapons to Ukraine and providing it with intelligence information and helping plan attacks on Russian facilities.
Unconfirmed news reports said Storm Shadow missiles provided to Ukraine by the UK and France were used in the attack on the headquarters.
The UK Ministry of Defence didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Zakharova’s remarks or reports that Storm Shadow missiles were used in the strike.