In a video statement released on Friday, June 9, 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the long-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive had “commenced” on the front lines. However, he emphasized that the forces from Kiev had failed to achieve their objectives. Speaking to reporters, Putin asserted, “We can confirm that this offensive has indeed begun,” referencing the utilization of Ukrainian strategic reserves as evidence. He further stated that Ukrainian troops had been unable to accomplish their goals on any of the battlefields.
While Kiev has remained silent about its military strategy, Vladimir Putin assured on Friday that the Ukrainian attack had commenced. The Kremlin strongman declared that the Kiev forces had not been able to “reach their objectives.” “We can totally affirm that this offensive has begun, as evidenced by the use of Ukrainian strategic reserves,” stated Putin in a video disseminated on Telegram by a Russian state television reporter. According to him, the fighting has been ongoing for five days, but “Ukrainian troops have not achieved their objectives on any of the battlefields.”
“Kiev still possesses offensive potential”
“All previous attempts at counter-offensive have failed, but the Kiev regime still possesses offensive potential,” added Vladimir Putin, assuring that the Russian response “will be based on this assessment.” The president claimed that Ukrainian losses were “roughly three to one” in favor of Russia.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities seemed to downplay the clashes while maintaining ambiguity about their intentions. According to the Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister, Kiev’s forces are conducting “active combat operations” near the devastated city of Bakhmut in the east, and “position battles” are taking place in the south, where Russian troops are engaged in “defensive operations.”
However, many observers interpret the fighting in the south as a sign that “the Ukrainian counter-offensive has begun,” as summarized by the American think tank, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Russian President Vladimir Putin attributed the lack of success for Ukrainian operations to the bravery of Russian servicemen, the quality of Russian weapons, and efficient command organization. “The enemy had no success in any area. It is all due to the courage and heroism of our soldiers, the proper organization and management of troops, and the great efficiency of Russian weapons, especially advanced weapons,” Putin told reporters. He mentioned that the intensity of the fighting has escalated over the past two days.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the mercenary Wagner Group, took the opportunity to congratulate Russian military personnel for repelling the attacks by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Zaporozhye. He claimed that Western equipment had been destroyed during the clashes. However, just a few days ago, Prigozhin had ridiculed the Russian defense ministry’s claim that its military had inflicted heavy losses on Ukrainian forces, casting doubt on the conflicting narratives surrounding the ongoing conflict.