MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Tuesday that the military has seized the initiative on the battlefield in Ukraine after repelling Kyiv's counteroffensive and is well-positioned to achieve Moscow's goals.
Putin's speech at a meeting with top military brass came a day after he presented documents to Russia's Central Election Commission to seek reelection in the March presidential vote that he's all but certain to win.
“Our troops are holding the initiative,” he said. “We are effectively doing what we think is needed, doing what we want. Where our commanders consider it necessary to stick to active defenses they are doing so, and we are improving our positions where it's needed.”
The Russian leader hailed the troops for repelling Ukrainian attacks during the summer counteroffensive.
“The enemy has suffered heavy casualties and to a large extent wasted its reserves while trying to show at least some results of its so-called counteroffensive to its masters,” Putin said, adding that ”the myth about invulnerability of Western weapons also has collapsed.”
“All attempts by the West to deliver us a military defeat, a strategic defeat, were shattered by the courage and fortitude of our soldiers, the growing might of our armed forces and the potential of our military industries,” Putin said.
During the counteroffensive that began in early June, Ukrainian forces have failed to…