Day 288: Putin Admits War Could Be 'Long-Term Process'; Europe Lacks Defense Capabilities, Says Top Diplomat

In a meeting with his Human Rights Council on Wednesday, Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin admitted the war could turn into a "long-term process," but hailed the achievements of his military's territorial gains to date.

Day 288: Putin Admits War Could Be 'Long-Term Process'; Europe Lacks Defense Capabilities, Says Top Diplomat
Image credit: AP Photos [via AP News]

Facts

  • In a meeting with his Human Rights Council on Wednesday, Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin admitted the war could turn into a "long-term process," but hailed the achievements of his military's territorial gains to date.
  • In response to a question, Putin said: "As for the slow process of the special military operation, then, of course, it can be a long-term process. But then you mentioned that new territories had appeared. This is such a significant result for Russia … The Azov Sea has become an internal Russian sea. Even Peter I had fought for access to the Azov Sea."
  • Meanwhile, on the question of nuclear weapons, Putin said: "Such a threat is growing, it would be wrong to hide it." However, he insisted that "under no circumstances" would Russia use the weapons first. "We have not gone mad. We are aware of what nuclear weapons are," he said. "We aren't about to run around the world brandishing this weapon like a razor."
  • Asked to comment on Putin's remarks, US State Dept. spokesman Ned Price said: "We think any loose talk of nuclear weapons is absolutely irresponsible." He added: "We think any other rhetoric — whether it is nuclear sabre-rattling or even raising the spectre of the use of tactical nuclear weapons — is something that is irresponsible."
  • Elsewhere, Josep Borrell, the EU's chief foreign policy advisor and head of the European Defense Agency (EDA), said the war in Ukraine has been a wake-up call for Europe to replenish its military stockpiles after "years of underspending." Echoing earlier remarks from Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Borrell said: "We lack critical defense capabilities."
  • On the ground, fighting remained heaviest in the Donetsk region where Ukrainian officials said nine civilians were killed and 15 more were injured in the past day. Separatist officials from the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said that two civilians were killed in Ukrainian attacks for the same time period.
  • Russian attacks were also recorded in Kherson, where two civilians were reported killed, and in Zaporizhzhia, where one person was reported injured. Russian attacks were also recorded in the regions of Sumy, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk without reports of civilian casualties.

Sources: Guardian, BBC News, Irish Times, Europa, and Ukrinform.

Narratives

  • Anti-Russia narrative, as provided by Newsweek. Putin's Human Rights Council, like many other public events conducted by the Kremlin, was highly orchestrated to avoid the Russian leader facing scrutiny and difficult questions. The remarks are largely meaningless.
  • Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by Tass. In a show of transparency, Putin took a host of questions about the ongoing conflict from journalists and civic leaders. The president offered leadership by giving frank responses to a range of issues, in order to help settle the minds of the Russian population.

Predictions