Ukraine is “mindlessly” forcing its servicemen to hold a tiny foothold on the Russian-controlled bank of the Dnieper River, the president has said
The Ukrainian leadership has grown desperate in the wake of its major summer counteroffensive failure, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a major press conference on Thursday. The Russian leader revealed some details about an ongoing operation, which has seen Kiev sending its troops on a “one way trip” to a tiny beachhead on the Russian-controlled bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region.
The Ukrainian media have been claiming over the past months that Kiev’s troops had managed to secure a beachhead on the left bank of the Dnieper River near the village of Krynki and have been “expanding” their presence in the area, while supposedly forcing the Russian troops to retreat.
The Russian president commented on the situation on Thursday by saying that Kiev’s actions essentially amounted to sending its troops to be “exterminated.” The Russian leader called it Ukraine’s “last attempt” to stage an attack after it “had failed to achieve anything anywhere” in its much-touted summer counteroffensive.
“I don’t even know why they do that,” the president said, adding that the Ukrainian soldiers themselves call the operations in the area a “one way trip.” According to Putin, the Ukrainian Armed Forces deliver reinforcements and supplies to the beachhead from the opposite river bank with boats that are under the constant fire of the Russian artillery.
Russia’s losses in the area have been relatively small and mostly amounted to soldiers suffering non-lethal injuries, the president said, adding that Ukraine was losing its troops “by the dozens” at the same time. Moscow’s troops turned the Ukrainian beachhead into the “killing ground,” Putin said, calling the developments a “tragedy” for Ukraine. Yet, Kiev continues to just sacrifice its troops in the area for political reasons, he added.
A Ukrainian soldier fighting near Krynki described the situation in the area as “hell” and recalled how boats full of Ukrainian soldiers had been blown out of the water in attempts to reach the beachhead. He also spoke about the feeling of abandonment by Kiev’s military commanders.
“Those are not just regular Ukrainian soldiers, those are the elite assault teams that are relatively few,” the president said, adding that the losses near the Krynki village must be quite “sensitive” for Kiev.
Earlier, the Ukrainian media claimed that the Russian troops were “unable” to push the Ukrainian troops out of the area. According to Putin, Moscow just does not want to do that. “I would say it plainly: it is advantageous for us that they [the Ukrainian Armed Forces] are just mindlessly throwing their personnel in there,” he said, adding that he told the Russian General Staff chief, Valery Gerasimov, not to launch any counteroffensives in the area.
Kiev launched its major counteroffensive in early June. In late November, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky publicly acknowledged that the much-hyped operation had ended without success. The Ukrainian attacks had largely failed to bring about any major changes to the frontlines over almost six months of the offensive.
According to Russian Defense Ministry estimates, Ukraine has lost over 125,000 troops and 16,000 pieces of heavy equipment in failed attempts to move forward over the past half a year.