Putin sounds out Russian military chiefs on progress of Ukraine war

President asks for proposals on visit to forces headquarters

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited a military headquarters at an undisclosed location. EPA
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken to senior military officers about the progress of the war in Ukraine.

Mr Putin visited the headquarters where Russian military chiefs are running the war effort, the Kremlin said.

Official video showed him asking for suggestions from military commanders.

“I would like to hear your proposals on our immediate and medium-term actions,” Mr Putin said.

He was accompanied by air force general Sergei Surovikin, who is believed to have taken operational command of the invasion in October.

Russia has focused on aerial bombardment of Ukrainian cities in recent weeks after a series of battlefield setbacks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said dozens more missiles were shot down in the latest barrage on Friday.

Military chiefs were asked for their proposals on the war in Ukraine. AFP

But he said three people were killed in Kyiv and power and water supplies were once again damaged.

“They still have enough missiles for several such heavy strikes,” Mr Zelenskyy claimed.

“Dear partners, find an opportunity to provide us with a reliable air defence shield. This is saving people's lives.”

Ukraine’s allies have pledged more than €1 billion ($1.06bn) in support to help it get through the winter.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in its daily bulletin that drone attacks were now being launched from inside Russia.

The Iranian-made drones used by Russia were first launched from occupied Crimea, it said.

“The change of launch sites is likely due to Russian concerns about the vulnerability of Crimea,” the ministry said.

War in Ukraine — in pictures

Western officials believe Russia had planned for a quick victory when it invaded Ukraine in February.

But it failed to capture Kyiv and was caught out again by a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the autumn.

Moscow has given mixed signals about its willingness to end the war. Mr Putin told Kremlin advisers last week that the war “might be a lengthy process”.

His spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the idea of withdrawing from Ukraine to open the door for talks with US President Joe Biden.

Mr Putin said in separate remarks that an agreement would ultimately need to be reached but that trust in the West was at rock bottom.

Views also differ in the West. French President Emmanuel Macron was scolded by Ukraine for saying Russia should be given security guarantees in any peace talks.

Updated: December 17, 2022, 11:41 AM