MOSCOW, June 13. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday sat down with leading Russian journalists covering the special military operation in Ukraine to talk about some recent developments and share his thoughts about the future.
He said Russia has no need for an additional military mobilization or martial law across the entire country. Moscow could establish a "cordon sanitaire," or buffer zone, in Ukraine if Russian border areas continue to come under shelling attacks. The goals of the special operation have not changed fundamentally, and Ukrainian forces have not been successful in their counteroffensive so far, while suffering massive losses.
TASS has compiled these and other highlights from the meeting in more detail below.
Kiev is still pressing on with its sweeping counteroffensive, which started on June 4, but cannot boast of any accomplishments.
"The enemy hasn’t had success in any of the areas. They have large losses."
Ukrainian losses are an order of magnitude larger than Russian losses, and the proportion of permanent losses is higher than usual.
"Typically, irreplaceable losses make up about 25% of the total, 30% tops. They have them 50-50."
Kiev has already lost more than 160 tanks and more than 360 armored vehicles of various types. That constitutes "about 25%, maybe 30% of all the vehicles that were provided [to Ukraine] from abroad." Russia lost 54 tanks, but some of them could be repaired and brought back in service.
Russia does not need a new wave of military mobilization.
"The Defense Ministry has reported that there is no need, of course, for a mobilization as of this day."
The people that were called up during the previous mobilization will need to be "sent home" at some point in an incremental process, but the law does not provide for any specific timeline.
"We will decide based on how many personnel there is, how the situation unfolds along the engagement line, what progress the special military operation makes."
Since January, more than 150,000 Russians have signed up for contract military service. Last week alone, contracts were signed by 9,500 people.
People that enlisted in "volunteer units" should sign contracts with the Defense Ministry.
"That’s the only way to make sure they get social benefits."
The relevant legislation should be amended to bring it "in line with common sense."
People that are called up for compulsory military service will not be sent to serve in the special military operation area, including the new Russian regions.
"There’s no need to send them to that area, as the Defense Ministry has reported."
But these servicemen will still be deployed in border regions.
Kakhovka HPP collapse
Russia had no incentive to blow up the Kakhovka HPP because of the severe consequences for its own territories.
"It is clear who is to blame. The Ukrainian side had sought to do it."
Moscow did not detect any "big explosions" before the dam collapsed, but Kiev had attacked the HPP many times before.
"Maybe they applied some slight pressure again and that set off the collapse."
The flooding, "unfortunately, <...> disrupted their (Ukrainian - TASS) counteroffensive in that area," although "it would have been better if they had attacked there."
"It would have ended badly for them to attack there."
Martial law in border regions
"It makes no sense to introduce some kind of special regime or martial law across the whole country. There is no need for this today. We need to work more thoroughly on certain issues."
Kiev's attacks on the border territories are an attempt to make Russia pull its forces from other areas. In response, Moscow will strengthen the border, and "this goal will also be accomplished."
If shelling by Ukraine continues, Russia will have to consider creating "some sort of cordon sanitaire" or buffer zone on Ukrainian territory, wide enough to prevent bombardments.
The Russian authorities will "provide help on a case-by-case basis, to each family, each home" that has suffered from Ukrainian shelling.
"Funds will come and are already coming from the government's reserve fund."
Potential for talks with Kiev
Russia has never rejected talks that could lead to a peace settlement. Representatives of Moscow and Kiev initialed a draft agreement in Istanbul in the spring of 2022, but the Ukrainians "just tossed it out afterward, and that was the end of it."
If Western countries really want the conflict to end, they just need to stop supplying Kiev with weapons. "The Ukrainians are not producing anything themselves. As soon as the next day they will want to negotiate. Not formally, but in substance."
Russia reserves the right to use depleted-uranium munitions in response to any use of them by Ukraine.
"We have many of these munitions <…> and if they use them, we will also reserve the right to use similar munitions."
"There’s nothing good about it, but, if need be, we can do it. We don’t need to do it."
Veterans to move up the career ladder
Veterans of the special military operation should be moved up the career ladder in the Russian armed forces, the law enforcement agencies and the special services.
Defense production in Russia has grown by 170% over the past year, and the growth was tenfold in products that are most in demand. "Dozens, hundreds of private enterprises, which have never had anything to do with the military-industrial complex, have gotten involved in this work" now.
During the special military operation, it turned out that many things were in short supply, such as high-precision ammunition, communications equipment, unmanned aerial vehicles. But if it had not been for the special operation, the country's leadership would probably never have understood how the defense industry needs to be upgraded to make the Russian military "the best in the world."
Russia is "thinking about leaving the grain deal" because the country has been "fooled again."
Moscow was promised that the hurdles to its exports would be removed, but "nothing has been done to liberalize the terms of deliveries." But for Kiev, the export of food products is the main source of hard currency.
Moscow is participating in the grain deal for the sake of friendly countries in Africa and Latin America and is ready to supply them free of charge with the amount of grain that they are receiving through this deal.
Special operation goals
The goals of the special military operation are being amended in response to the current state of affairs, but they will not change in essence.
"In general, we will, of course, not change anything. They [the special military operation goals] are fundamental for us."