BEN MORGAN: Putin talks strategy in St Petersburg and Mid-year military lessons from the last six months

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Although fighting continued along the frontline there was no operationally significant movement this week, providing an opportunity to record tactical lessons from the last six months. At strategic level, there was interesting news this week. Putin publicly discussing long-term strategy, providing interesting insight and context for discussing the tactical lessons recorded in this column.  

Putin talks strategy 

Speaking at the St Petersburg Economic Forum on 7 June, Putin articulated his strategy for the war in Ukraine. He outlined a strategy of incremental attrition based on continuous small offensives designed to wear Ukraine down and outlast the goodwill of the nation’s supporters. A strategy he stressed did not require another large mobilisation of reservists. 

The statements are also notable because Putin appeared to re-negotiate the conditions for victory. Articulated as ‘squeezing’ the Ukrainians out “of those territories that should be under Russian control,” an interesting and subtle distinction.  Putin did not discuss regime change or ‘denazification’ in terms that indicate the complete subjugation of Ukraine.  Instead, it appears that the focus of the campaign will be the areas that have been annexed by Russia; Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Crimea.  This position concurs with previous statements regarding the recent Kharkiv offensive’s objectives being limited to creating a buffer zone for Belgorod.  Additionally, the focus on long-term attrition coincides with the appointment of Andrey Belousov as defence minister in May.

Putin’s words are important because they contribute to a view posited by some observers for a long-time, that Russia no longer has the combat power to return to operational level manoeuvre. Essentially, that Russia’s ground forces can only operate at a tactical level slowly pushing forward small forces in ‘bounds,’ measured in hundreds of metres, rather than being able to manoeuvre decisively.  Characteristically, Putin is confident pitching his strategy as an economic way to wait out the weak liberal democracies that support Ukraine.

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Further evidence of Russia’s strategic weakness can be found in other statements, during a panel discussion at the forum, on 5 June, Putin discussed nuclear weapons in relatively ambiguous terms. He said Russia did not need to use them in Ukraine but highlighted the large number of tactical nuclear weapons Russia has compared to NATO’s reserves.  He also discussed potential changes to Russia’s nuclear policy, the two statements ensuring the ‘nuclear stick’ remains visible to foreign observers.  

Putin also threatened Ukraine’s supporters, indicating that a Russian response to the recent removal of restrictions on using long-range missiles supplied to Ukraine could be to provide similar weapons to nations that are confronting Ukraine’s supporters.  Putin stating “We are not supplying those weapons yet, but we reserve the right to do so to those states or legal entities which are under certain pressure, including military pressure, from the countries that supply weapons to Ukraine and encourage their use on Russian territory.” The deployment of Russian long-range weapons overseas in numbers seems unlikely because they are needed to prosecute the war in Ukraine. However, this policy could increase instability in the world’s trouble spots and is likely to be more dangerous than Russia’s nuclear dialogue. 

It appears that Putin has accepted that his land forces are not capable of operational manoeuvre.  So, his options are limited to either destroying the Russian economy by mobilising completely to rebuild an army capable if operational manoeuvre; or to stagnate into a long slow ‘forever war,’ hoping to wait out Ukraine’s supporters.  It seems likely that with his new and more capable advisors, Putin is realising the potential political cost of full mobilisation on the economy and on Russia’s social fabric so has chosen the second option.  

Mid-year tactical lessons

Putin’s shrinking goals and potential admission that his land forces are no longer capable of operational or strategic level manoeuvre provides a good opportunity to capture tactical lessons from the last six months of war. 

Is air denial the new air superiority in near-peer conflict? 

A couple of weeks ago in this column, we discussed the evolving air battle over the frontline (See – ‘Putin knows Russia is in trouble’ dated 27 May 2024). Observing that the air battle in Ukraine is defined by using long-range weapons like Patriot and S300-400 to create air denial zones deep behind the frontline. Ukraine’s ‘Patriot traps’ successfully destroying hard targets like Airborne Early Warning and Command aircraft. 

Additionally, long-range missiles like HIMARS and ATACMs are being used to push back the infra-structure required for tactical air-support. Specifically, the enemy’s long-range air defence missile launchers, ground-based surveillance systems, airfields and command points. 

Essentially, two key trends are emerging, the first is that the frontline is an increasingly difficult place for crewed aircraft to operate.  The accuracy and range of systems like Patriot and S300/400 providing deep anti-air cover, combined with the abundance of accurate and lethal short-range systems makes achieving air-superiority almost impossible.  Russian close-air support has played a role in the campaign at key times but cannot achieve a level of air-superiority that enables it to support operational level manoeuvre.

The second trend is that an emerging component of air-superiority on the modern battlefield is Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) deep behind the frontline. Using long-range weapons like missiles or drones to specifically target the enemy’s long-range air defence systems. Pushes the SEAD battle many kilometres into depth as both sides hunt each other’s air defence assets.

It seems likely that in any future near-peer conflict, crewed close support aircraft maybe relegated to the sidelines because neither side will be able to achieve the level of air-superiority required for them to operate safely over the battlefield. That instead the frontline air battle will focus on denying airspace to the enemy.  A situation that could negate a key aspect of US and its allied forces traditional ‘fires’ (artillery, missiles and air attack) doctrine.  This is not inevitable, but military planners need to study this development and plan tactic to defeat air denial operations. 

Tube artillery is still a key component of conventional war

Ukraine is a good reminder that the stolid, all-weather dependability of tube artillery remains current. That artillery is still the only type of indirect fire that can provide accurate, long duration suppressive fire regardless of weather.  Even light field artillery, towed by trucks is proving its worth in a highly contested and dangerous environment. The gunners evolving new tactics, surviving and providing fire support, that is especially important as both sides tactical air power is currently restricted. 

The extensive use of GPS to locate gunlines accurately enables towed artillery to ‘shoot and scoot’ in a manner unimaginable to previous generations. GPS also allows observers whether on the ground; or via drone to accurately locate targets.  Combined, these applications of GPS technology vastly increase the chance of first round accuracy, meaning that gunlines can deploy and immediately ‘fire for effect’ increasing their lethality and survivability.  

Further, the application of GPS guidance to projectiles vastly increases the lethality of tube artillery and reduces the logistics required to support it.  Human nature dictates that shiny new technology appeals to military planners more that old stalwarts like tube artillery, but this war is a reminder to those planning for future conflicts that tube artillery still plays an important role on the battlefield. 

Will small attack drones replace tube artillery? 

Ukraine’s successful use of First Person View (FPV) drones in place of artillery to break up Russian attacks early in the year demonstrates the potential of these weapons.  However, in my opinion tube artillery will have a role on the battle field for some time yet.  FPV drones are lethal as well as being easy to move around, however their key weakness is electronic jamming.  A weakness that a ‘dumb’ artillery round does not have because once fired an artillery round is impossible to stop. 

Another weakness of FPV drones is weather; wind, rain and other atmospheric conditions limit the effectiveness of lightweight drones.  Tube artillery is unaffected by weather, being able to provide accurate fire support regardless of rain, wind or snow. Over time, AI will be developed that will allow drones to self-target removing jamming as an effective counter but it seems likely that small FPV drones will always be weather dependent. Therefore, tube artillery will retain a useful role in the foreseeable future albeit working closely with FPV drones. 

Turtle tanks are not as silly as they look

Russia’s Turtle tanks are an interesting innovation, specifically their use as a tool for breeching an FPV killing area and as a launch pad for drones.  Although, reports are still not confirmed by reputable sources it appears that the ‘barn’ on a Turtle tank can be used to move a swarm of FPV drones close to Ukrainian positions.  This idea makes sense and provides another snapshot of potential future battlefields.  

It seems likely that FPV drones will soon be engaged by swarms of defensive ‘fighter’ drones and I am especially interested in if air burst artillery is an effective counter for them.  So, the idea of being able to move an attack swarm directly onto a target, under armour appears sensible.  It will be interesting to see how this concept develops in the future.

Electronic Warfare (EW) 

The war demonstrates that dominating the electromagnetic spectrum is increasingly important. Many modern weapons rely on digital networks and this leads to a new battle that involves controlling and dominating the physical infrastructure that supports digital networks. Part of this battle is jamming and disrupting signals but it also includes locating and targeting EW units, electro-magnetic surveillance systems, digital cables and satellite uplinks.  An area of operations that will become an increasingly common feature of war-fighting and is likely to lean heavily on both artillery and infantry functions that need to be starting to plan for these roles. 

The importance of the infantry soldier

Another six-months of war continues to confirm the importance of the infantry soldier.  Even on today’s high-tech battlefield, ground is still held and taken by the foot soldier.  Both sides need more infantry and there is a pertinent lesson for the US, NATO and other US allies around the world, that war still requires infantry soldiers. The current clash between aggressive authoritarian regimes and liberal democracies is not going to suddenly disappear and military planners in the world’s liberal democracies need to understand this lesson.  Larger regular armies, large reserve forces even national service all need to be considered to provide the infantry required to meet future contingencies. 

Summary 

Putin’s statements this week should be interpreted as a danger signal.  Russia understands its weaknesses and is planning sensibly for a long war.  Ukraine and its supporters need to listen carefully and plan to counter this approach, to learn lessons from the war and apply them effectively over a long-period.  Already, Russia’s ability to conduct operational level manoeuvre is exhausted and will not be rebuilt at current rates of attrition. Russia can be defeated in Ukraine

However, defeating Russia requires a long-term commitment and that is where the danger lies. This year is an election year across Europe and in the US, Putin knows this and is banking on democracy undermining Ukraine’s supporters. But, if Ukraine’s supporters stand firm, Russia will be worn down further and be forced to give ground.  It will not happen immediately, but is inevitable providing Ukraine gets the support it needs. 



 

 

Ben Morgan is a bored Gen Xer, a former Officer in NZDF and TDBs Military Blogger – his work is on substack

50 COMMENTS

  1. Ben, the myth of Western military superiority was based entirely on the series of mismatches spanning multiple conflicts over the course of several decades where the US and its allies waged war on nations with poorly trained, poorly equipped forces. While many of these nations were supposedly operating “Soviet” or “Russian” military equipment, it was multiple generations behind the state-of-the-art and operated by poorly organized units unable to use the equipment to its full potential.”

    Even with these many disadvantages, nations targeted by US wars of aggression over the decades did demonstrate that, at least in theory, US and European weapons had limitations and would be vulnerable in battle against a peer or near-peer adversary. Because of this, and other factors including challenges regarding training and logistics, the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of Western weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine was predictable.

    The myth of Western military superiority has now been fully shattered in Ukraine, where Western weapons are turning out to suffer both quantitative and qualitative limitations, giving Russian forces a decisive advantage on the battlefield, and an advantage the West is incapable of seizing upon for itself.

    Russia’s state-owned arms manufacturing enterprises prioritize readiness and maintain excessive capacity regardless of orders, meaning it is capable of ramping up production in a relatively short period of time measured in months versus Western factories which require a year or more.

    It is clear that Ukraine’s current crisis is a result, at least in part, of Russia’s long-term focus on military industrial production and logistics, years before the SMO was launched, versus a collective West whose proxy war is being fought with weapons and a military industrial base never meant to operate on this scale, at this intensity, and for this long.

    Much of the rhetoric coming out of the collective West is designed to encourage Ukraine to irrationally fight on despite the obvious outcome of the fighting – an outcome well-known even as early as 2019. While a deep hatred has been deliberately bred in the hearts and minds of many Ukrainians against Russia, their real enemy has always been the leadership of the collective West. The shortsighted nature of Western policymaking, predicated on the perpetual but ultimately unsustainable procurement of profits, power, and influence, makes the collective West its own worst enemy as well.

    If Ukraine is outgunned anywhere between 5:1 to 10:1, this means its casualties will likewise reflect this disparity. According to various Western sources including the British Ministry of Defense, if Russia has suffered “355,000” casualties, Ukraine has suffered approximately 5 to 10 times more, or 1.7 million to 3.5 million Ukrainian casualties.

    More realistically, Russian losses are more likely 50,000 versus half a million Ukrainian losses.

    https://www.euronews.com/2024/03/03/russia-likely-suffered-at-least-355000-casualties-in-ukraine-war-uk-mod

    • “More realistically, Russian losses are more likely 50,000 versus half a million Ukrainian losses.”

      Fully appreciate that determining exact casualties nigh on impossible but there is no way that is going to be even remotely accurate.

    • What you ignore Stephen is the rampant corruption which is endemic in Russia.This affects military materiel which gets hocked off to China or wherever. What happened to the Armata tank? Sukhoi Su 57s have had delayed development – far behind the F-22 and F-35.
      The lack of air defence in Russia is a result of corruption. Shoigu and Timur Ivanov were creaming off billions of rubles and the damage has been done.And ordinary Russian citizens are paying the price for their war economy. Taxes are to be raised and already there are food shortages. Infrastructure will not be maintained and any weather event will expose the shortcomings. Welcome to Soviet Union Mk. 2.

  2. Thanks Ben

    Two additional points:

    Russia’s investment in electronic warfare is paying off in that they have successfully degraded the accuracy of several NATO weapons systems that rely on GPS, including Storm Shadow and ATACMS.

    Just a few days ago Ukraine successfully hit a Russian SU57 jet some 1,400 kms behind the lines using their own drone design. While Biden is still dithering about letting Ukraine use US weapons on Russian territory, it’s seems the Ukraine is getting on with business without them.

    • Their own design maybe but the us used their spy satellites to give ukraine the exact coordinates and the us gps system guided the drones. If this goes to the next level then those will be the first targets, and russia is setting up the means to destroy them.

    • Why hit a hit a Russian SU57 jet some 1,400 kms behind the lines? It clearly was not involved in operations in Ukraine. I’m not saying it wasn’t a legitimate target because it was, but it was also a very low value target. I have read that it was a testing prototype, this seems likely. It also seems likely that Ukraine, with western ISR is searching for high profile targets with psychological and propaganda value deep in the interior of Russia because they are unable to hit more valuable targets closer to the front line that would have a real impact on the fighting

  3. Utter rubbish from Stephen and Brown about casualties. If they were even remotely close Russia would have won at least a year ago.
    In reality both their Kharkiv and Chasiv Yar offensives have not succeeded and are unlikely to do so.
    New western weapons, especially artillery shells are flooding in. Ukraine is now able to match Russian artillery.
    However, I don’t think Ukraine will be able to go on the offensive, at least not in a serious way.
    It still seems a stalemate on the frontlines. Basically both the Ukrainian offensive and the Russian offensives have failed. First the Ukrainian, now the Russian.
    At some point negotiations will be necessary. I am picking the end of the year.

    • Even if artillery ammunition is “flooding” in where are the guns to fire them?
      All sorts of equipment is being wrecked at an amazing rate in Ukraine and where are the production lines to produce new ones? Production numbers are always going to be closely held but do you think it is likely that current western production can match the losses, let alone build up stockpiles?
      These are the hard facts of a grinding war of attrition and the west has made a major error in allowing itself to get caught in one.

  4. I’m in disagreement about the casualty total, but there being no empirical evidence and lots of propaganda we can only surmise from other indicators. Russia appears to have no issues recruiting, Ukraine has extended the age and sex draft laws, is struggling to replace losses. That in itself indicates that the balance of forces is becoming untenable.

    In terms of movement on the front line I am yet to be convinced that Russia intends a full on offensive. They are fighting an attritional war which prioritises destruction of Western capability over territory. They know that the modern battlefield makes manoeuvre highly costly and they are casualty adverse. This is an artillery, drone and missile war, bombardment rules.

  5. I’m in disagreement about the casualty total, but there being no empirical evidence and lots of propaganda we can only surmise from other indicators. Russia appears to have no issues recruiting, Ukraine has extended the age and sex draft laws, is struggling to replace losses. That in itself indicates that the balance of forces is becoming untenable.

    In terms of movement on the front line I am yet to be convinced that Russia intends a full on offensive. They are fighting an attritional war which prioritises destruction of Western capability over territory. They know that the modern battlefield makes manoeuvre highly costly and they are casualty adverse. This is an artillery, drone and missile war, bombardment rules.

    • That nutcase said “big story of week” Russia doing nothing about NATO rockets. He obviously didn’t listen to Russia stating that they can also go asymetric and supply rockets to third parties. Like the Houthi or any number of groups with grudges. Your sources really don’t qualify as subtle thinkers.

      • And you believe every word that Putin says? He is just sabre rattling as usual. Haven’t you heard of agit prop? About time you watched or read Mark Galeotti. Or Russians – Konstantin Samoilov or Vlad Vexler on YouTube.

        • Hi PhuD, dull as ever. If you had half a brain you would listen to and analyse what our and their leaders say, and reference it to their actions. In this case I heard and understood what Putin said. You obviously missed the message. How the fekk do you qualify as an “academic”?

          • You cannot understand what Putin says any more than the finest analysts with far more intellectual heft than you. Putin’s bs content would be circa 90%. For example the nuclear sabre rattling.

        • Thanks PhuD for the names, endless amusement by accident… Samoilov I found this man sharing name https://wodoneshot.fandom.com/wiki/Konstantin_Samoilov
          A survivalist, fond of wolves, shaman in Siberia, fascinating.
          Galeotti, I read one of his books on Russian crime and thought it far fetched a few years ago, didn’t realise he was Royal United Services Institute linked, says it all.
          Have fun with the Siberian wolf man.

          • What an idiot you are NJ! Your ‘research’ is unbelievably slapdash. YouTube commentator Samoilov was born and raised in Rostov – nowhere near Siberia. He was trained as an economist. He is currently in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He is predicting doom for the Russian economy.
            Your confirmation bias is palpable.

            • Learn to read PhuD, I said the man shared a name. Good grief you are a dunce. I do believe that the Siberian may not only be more fun and more clever.

              • NJ. If you wrote in proper English instead of the pidgin English that you favour I might have grasped your vaguely relevant attempt at whimsy. As per usual your posts are full of ad hominem attacks: against me, against Konstantin Samoilov and Mark Galeotti. Sharpen up your act and stop the name calling.

  6. That nutcase said “big story of week” Russia doing nothing about NATO rockets. He obviously didn’t listen to Russia stating that they can also go asymetric and supply rockets to third parties. Like the Houthi or any number of groups with grudges. Your sources really don’t qualify as subtle thinkers.

  7. Ben Morgan gives us his military expert opinion on the global contest being played out on the world stage between Western imperialism and the Chinese and Russian imperialist upstarts.

    For whatever reason Ben Morgan completely misses commenting on the developments in Super Power rivalry and one-upmanship in the Middle East

    Daily Mail
    Russia announces joint navy drills with Egypt near Suez Canal
    Story by David Averre • 4 min read

    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/other/russia-announces-joint-navy-drills-with-egypt-near-suez-canal/ar-BB1nXGBd

    From Ukraine to the Pacific, from Pacific to Ukraine and back again.
    By ignoring the contest between the rival imperialist powers in the Middle East, Ben leaves a huge gaping hole in his analysis of the struggle between the Super Powers

    The Abraham Accords signed with Israel the US and the Emirates normalising relations between Israel and the the Arab dictators and autocrats at the expense of the Palestinian people were explicitly designed to ensure Western domination of the Middle East and shut Western rivals Russia and China out of region.

    The October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. and Israel’s genocidal retaliation, have left the Abraham Accords in tatters. No Arab military dictator or autocrat dare normalise relations with Israel, in fear of a huge social backlash coming from the ‘Arab Street’, to match the Arab Spring.

    The collapse of the Abraham Accords has created an opening for China And Russia in the Middle East at America’s expense.

    https://carnegieendowment.org/posts/2024/03/chinas-evolving-economic-and-security-role-in-the-middle-east?lang=en

    The world holds its breath to see how this all plays out. But one place you won’t hear any analysis of these developments will be from Ben Morgan

  8. As the only participant at RiMPAC currently actively engaged in warfare, I wonder what military insights the IDF will be sharing with the NZDF and the other participants in RIMPAC. Whatever they are, Ben Morgan will not be commenting.

    • As long as New Zealand hosts the bases in Christchurch airport, Tangimoana, and Waihopai which are run by the CIA and American military on behalf of their bosses who are currently bombing and shooting and raping the children of Gaza, we are just as culpable.

  9. https://Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks

    Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
    Ukraine must remove its troops from Russia’s new regions before any meaningful peace talks can begin, President Vladimir Putin has said.

    Moscow rejects Kiev’s claims of sovereignty over five formerly Ukrainian regions, four of which voted to join Russia in 2022. However, fighting continues in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions.

    Ukrainian troops must be removed from these territories, Putin said on Friday at a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other senior Russian diplomats.

    “I stress: the entire territory of those regions as defined by their administrative borders at the time they joined Ukraine [in August 1991],” Putin stated.

    “Our side will order a ceasefire and start negotiations the minute Kiev declares that it is prepared to take this decision and starts actual withdrawal of troops from those regions, and also formally informs us that it no longer plans to join NATO,” the Russian leader pledged.

    Putin outlined the conditions after condemning Kiev’s Western backers for allegedly preventing it from holding peace talks with Moscow while accusing Russia of rejecting negotiations.

    “We are counting on Kiev to take such a decision on withdrawal, neutral status, and dialogue with Russia, on which the future existence of Ukraine depends, independently based on the current realities and guided by the true interests of the Ukrainian people and not at Western orders,” Putin stated.

    At this point, Moscow will not accept a frozen conflict, which would allow the US and its allies to rearm and rebuild the Ukrainian military, Putin claimed. The full resolution of the issue will involve Kiev recognizing the four new regions as well as Crimea as part of Russia, he insisted.

    “In the future, all those basic principled positions have to be enshrined in fundamental international agreements. Naturally, that includes the lifting of all Western sanctions against Russia,” Putin stated.

    Accepting these terms will allow everyone involved to turn the page and gradually rebuild damaged relations, the president said. Eventually, a pan-European security system that works for all nations on the continent could be created, Putin added, noting that Moscow has sought this outcome for years.

    The Russian president’s keynote remarks came ahead of a Swiss-hosted summit supposedly meant to further peace in Ukraine. Kiev has insisted that Moscow could not be invited to the event because it would try to “hijack” it by promoting alternatives to the “peace formula” pushed by the Ukrainian government.

    Putin claimed that the event was meant to distract public opinion from the “true roots” of the conflict, and that Vladimir Zelensky has usurped power in Ukraine after his presidential term expired last month. Nothing but demagoguery and accusations against Russia can come out of the Swiss gathering, he predicted.

  10. https://Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks

    Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
    Ukraine must remove its troops from Russia’s new regions before any meaningful peace talks can begin, President Vladimir Putin has said.

    Moscow rejects Kiev’s claims of sovereignty over five formerly Ukrainian regions, four of which voted to join Russia in 2022. However, fighting continues in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions.

    Ukrainian troops must be removed from these territories, Putin said on Friday at a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other senior Russian diplomats.

    “I stress: the entire territory of those regions as defined by their administrative borders at the time they joined Ukraine [in August 1991],” Putin stated.

    “Our side will order a ceasefire and start negotiations the minute Kiev declares that it is prepared to take this decision and starts actual withdrawal of troops from those regions, and also formally informs us that it no longer plans to join NATO,” the Russian leader pledged.

    Putin outlined the conditions after condemning Kiev’s Western backers for allegedly preventing it from holding peace talks with Moscow while accusing Russia of rejecting negotiations.

    “We are counting on Kiev to take such a decision on withdrawal, neutral status, and dialogue with Russia, on which the future existence of Ukraine depends, independently based on the current realities and guided by the true interests of the Ukrainian people and not at Western orders,” Putin stated.

    At this point, Moscow will not accept a frozen conflict, which would allow the US and its allies to rearm and rebuild the Ukrainian military, Putin claimed. The full resolution of the issue will involve Kiev recognizing the four new regions as well as Crimea as part of Russia, he insisted.

    “In the future, all those basic principled positions have to be enshrined in fundamental international agreements. Naturally, that includes the lifting of all Western sanctions against Russia,” Putin stated.

    Accepting these terms will allow everyone involved to turn the page and gradually rebuild damaged relations, the president said. Eventually, a pan-European security system that works for all nations on the continent could be created, Putin added, noting that Moscow has sought this outcome for years.

    The Russian president’s keynote remarks came ahead of a Swiss-hosted summit supposedly meant to further peace in Ukraine. Kiev has insisted that Moscow could not be invited to the event because it would try to “hijack” it by promoting alternatives to the “peace formula” pushed by the Ukrainian government.

    Putin claimed that the event was meant to distract public opinion from the “true roots” of the conflict, and that Vladimir Zelensky has usurped power in Ukraine after his presidential term expired last month. Nothing but demagoguery and accusations against Russia can come out of the Swiss gathering, he predicted.

  11. Why are you repeating Putin’s rubbish? In duplicate too. Putin hasn’t got a shit show of getting what he wants.
    Now that Russia is an enemy of Israel, Ukraine should hire the Mossad to assassinate the KGB thug.

  12. “The deployment of Russian long-range weapons overseas in numbers seems unlikely because they are needed to prosecute the war in Ukraine.”

    Russia doesn’t need to transfer weapons and certainly not in large numbers. Transfer of technology, expertise and intelligence could have a huge effect and not impact Russian stockpiles or manufacturing at all.

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