Ukraine was pressured to go “on the defensive” on Sunday to fend off a fierce cycle of assaults as Vladimir Putin boasted that Kyiv’s counter-offensive has failed.
He mentioned Russian troopers had “heroically” stopped Ukraine’s counter-offensive, sucking in its reserves and capturing key places.
“All makes an attempt by the enemy to interrupt via our defences have been unsuccessful throughout your complete offensive,” mentioned Putin.
Ukrainian commanders have admitted that their counter-offensive has progressed slowly however they’ve nonetheless estimated that they’ve recaptured round 65 sq. miles of land in two months.
Estonia’s army intelligence additionally mentioned that morale in Russia’s military is close to breaking.
In his interview with Russian state TV, although, Putin ignored these estimated positive factors.
“Our troops are behaving heroically,” he mentioned. “In some areas they even go on the offensive, taking essentially the most advantageous positions in high-rise buildings and so forth.”
Analysts mentioned that since a insurrection by his Wagner mercenaries in June, Putin has tried to project an aura of control however regardless of the bluster, his paranoia has grown and he’s reliant on a small cortege of loyal advisers for briefings that don’t problem his view of the battle.
“Putin’s system continues to function on wishful considering by way of experiences that go to the places of work of Putin,” mentioned Alex Kokcharev, a Russia analyst at S&P Market Intelligence.
The powerful combating was additionally highlighted by Hanna Malyar, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister. She mentioned Ukrainian forces across the metropolis of Kupiansk within the northern sector have been on the defensive in opposition to Russian forces.
“Fierce battles are occurring, and positions of the edges change dramatically a number of instances a day,” she mentioned. “There’s a each day advance on the southern flank round Bakhmut.
Combating has additionally been reported in occupied Crimea the place Russian forces mentioned that seven arial and two underwater drones had attacked the port of Sevastopol, the primary base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
In Belarus, tons of of rebellious Wagner mercenaries have now arrived as a part of a peace deal that ended their mutiny. Poland’s intelligence providers have mentioned that they’re monitoring them.