Interfering with the military would have been “wrong” and “ill-advised,” the Russian president has said
It is not the president’s role to directly command troops, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday, commenting on his role in the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Interfering with the military would have been “wrong,” he told the media at a press conference following the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg.
Putin said he was well aware of the situation on the frontlines but does not consider command and control of the military to be “my business.”
The president said he talked with top brass several times a day and could also contact “specific units” when needed. Putin then named several Russian commanders down to the rank of colonel that he’d talked to over the past few days, adding that, although he did receive frontline reports from them, he mostly wanted to thank them for their actions on the battlefield.
The Russian president has regularly commented on situations at the frontlines amid the much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive that was launched in early June. He repeatedly pointed to Ukraine’s losses in the operation, which he described as “catastrophic.” Last week, he said Kiev lost 26,000 troops in its attacks on Russian defensive positions.
On Thursday, Putin said that Ukraine lost ten times more soldiers than Russia during a battle, calling the difference “colossal.” During Saturday’s press conference the president said that Kiev was “exposing” its soldiers to Russian artillery strikes as it makes them attack on foot, supposedly to preserve Western-supplied equipment.