Exactly one week ago today, Vladimir Putin gave the order for Russian troops to invade Ukraine. On the eighth day after the first Russian soldier crossed the border into Ukraine, Ukraine is badly scarred by the fierce attacks by Russia, but unbroken. Nothing came of the “lightning war” that Putin had in mind, according to insider information – instead, a rough wind is blowing against the Kremlin chief – on the one hand due to the defensive resistance of Ukraine itself, on the other hand due to the massive wave of solidarity from the West, with the Putin should not have expected that. The “Tsar,” whose health and mental health in the face of the war has been the subject of increasing rumours, is said to be less than pleased with developments in his “special operation,” as he calls his bloody war. Recently, Putin had become increasingly unapproachable, even for his closest confidants – he had become increasingly isolated and had uncontrolled outbursts of anger, it was said. Most recently, he shocked the general public by alerting his nuclear forces – since then it has been quiet around him. But now the world will hear from Putin again – and accordingly it is holding its breath.
Putin’s meeting with representatives of the National Security Council in Moscow is imminent. This meeting, which was arranged for today, is to be broadcast on TV, as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reported, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. It can also be assumed that Putin will respond to the Russian soldiers who died in Ukraine – a major taboo topic in this war, which has also become an information and propaganda war between Russia and Ukraine. While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi spoke of 9,000 fallen Russian soldiers late Wednesday evening after heavy fighting, after Ukraine spoke a few hours earlier of just under 6,000 dead Russians, Moscow did not comment at all for a long time and “only” confirmed the death on Wednesday afternoon of 498 own soldiers. As the eXXpress repeatedly emphasizes, both figures should be treated with the utmost caution – an independent verification of these values is impossible in the turmoil of the war.
But it’s not just the “official” figures on fallen Russian soldiers that are a hot topic for Putin to address. Rumors and reports also piled up on Wednesday that openly speculated that Putin wanted to declare martial law in Russia. However, Kremlin spokesman Peskov vehemently denied this – it was nothing but false reports. Peskow also dismissed the persistent speculation that men of military age would be banned from leaving Russia from Tuesday as “newspaper ducks”. Numerous young Russian men had previously reported that they would rather leave Russia than be drafted into the war against Ukraine. They wanted to wait abroad until the war was over, the topic “emigration” trended in Moscow and St.Petersburg on Google at high values (the eXXpress reported).
In a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened further Russian demands on Ukraine. First and foremost is the demilitarization of Ukraine and its neutral status, the Kremlin confirmed on Thursday. Putin emphasized that the goals of the military “special operation”, as Russia calls the war, will be achieved in any case. “Attempts to buy time by prolonging the negotiations will only lead to additional demands on Kyiv in our negotiating position,” the Kremlin said.
Putin criticized Macron’s address to the nation and his key statements, it said. Macron said that Russia’s justification for fighting the Nazis in Ukraine was a lie. Putin rejected this and gave the French president “reasonable explanations about the significant role of neo-Nazis in Kiev’s politics,” the Kremlin said.
In addition, Putin has criticized the fact that Ukraine has violated the agreements of the Minsk peace plan for years and that the West has not done anything about it. “The long-standing genocide of the civilian population in Donbass, which has led to numerous victims and forced hundreds of thousands of people to seek asylum in Russia, is being hushed up,” the Kremlin quoted the Russian president as saying.