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Putin says government provides Russian military with ‘everything it asks for’

President Vladimir Putin has said the Russian military must learn from and fix the problems it suffered in Ukraine, vowing to give the military whatever it takes to carry out the 10-month war.

In a speech during a televised meeting with top military officials in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin said there were no financial limits on what the government would provide in terms of equipment and hardware.

“We have no funding restrictions. The country and the government are providing everything the army asks for,” he said.

Putin acknowledged, not for the first time, that the call-up of 300,000 reservists he ordered in September had not gone well.

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“The partial mobilization that took place revealed certain problems, as everyone knows, that must be addressed promptly,” he said.

The call drew strong criticism even from Kremlin allies, as it emerged that military stations were recruiting many men who were unfit or too old, and that the new recruits lacked basic equipment such as beanbags. sleep and winter clothes.

Putin also touched on other unspecified problems in the military, saying attention should be paid to constructive criticism.

“I ask the Ministry of Defense to be attentive to all civil initiatives, even taking criticism into account and responding correctly, in a timely manner,” he said.

“It is clear that the reaction of people who see problems – and there are always problems in such a large and complex job – can be emotional, but we need to listen to those who do not keep silent about existing problems but strive to contribute to their solution. .”

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At the meeting, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu proposed increasing the number of combat personnel in Russia’s army in Ukraine to 1.5 million soldiers, as well as raising the age limit for military service.

“It is necessary to increase the number of armed troops to 1.5 million servicemen, including 695,000 contract soldiers,” Shoigu told Putin, who “agreed” with the proposals.

Shoigu also proposed raising the age for Russian conscription to a new range of 21-30, from the current 18-27, and said Russia was accelerating the deployment of modern weapons.

He referred to a report that Russian forces were actively destroying Ukraine’s military potential and accused the West of trying to “prolong” the conflict.

Putin also claimed that Russia had had no choice but to confront arrogant Western powers, calling the ongoing conflict a “shared tragedy.”

“What is happening is, of course, a tragedy, our shared tragedy. But it is not the result of our policy. It is the result of the third country policy,” he said.

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On Tuesday, Putin told security officials that the situation in the four regions that Russia annexed in October was “very complicated.” Earlier this month, he anticipated that Russia could be fighting in Ukraine for a long time.

Since launching its invasion on February 24, Moscow has occupied a large swath of eastern and southern Ukraine along a front that stretches some 1,100 kilometers (685 miles). In recent months, however, it suffered a series of defeats that turned the momentum of the war in Kyiv’s favour.

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Ukraine’s counteroffensives, backed and accelerated by support from the United States and its allies, drove Russian forces out of parts of Ukrainian territories, including the city of Kherson, the first and only regional capital captured by Moscow in nearly 10 months of conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy headed to Washington to meet with US leader Joe Biden and address Congress on Wednesday “to strengthen the resilience and defense capabilities of [Ukraine]Zelenskyy wrote in a Tweet.

Russia has unleashed Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones against Ukrainian towns and cities, as well as critical energy infrastructure. According to Ukrainian authorities, more than 10 million people are without power as temperatures drop below freezing.

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