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Putin: Western Instructors In Ukraine Sustaining Losses


“Specialists are staying there under the guise of mercenaries,” he said at a news conference as he wrapped up his visit to Uzbekistan, commenting on documents legalizing the presence of French instructors at Ukrainian army training centers that were signed by Ukraine’s Commander in Chief Alexander Syrsky.

“There was a question about long-range precision weapons,” Putin went on to say.

“Who runs these weapons, who services them? Of course, it is these instructors that are disguised as mercenaries.”

“They are there and are sustaining losses,” Putin continued, adding, “And it is becoming more and more difficult for them to conceal these losses.”

“Maybe it’s time to say that they are officially present there to show actual losses officially.”

Russia is well aware of the fact that there are Western mercenaries in Ukraine, there is nothing new about that, Putin stated.

“As far as mercenaries being or possibly being in Ukraine, we are well aware of that, there is nothing new about that,” he said.

Russia constantly hears foreign speech, including English, French and Polish, in radio intercepts in Ukraine.

Kiev’s Western backers need to understand that long-range strikes on Russian territory using weaponry they have supplied would represent a conflict escalation and lead to “serious consequences”, the president outlined.

Speaking to reporters at the end of a two-day visit to Uzbekistan, Putin addressed recent Ukrainian demands for NATO to permit the use of its weapons to attack deep inside Russia as well as comments by the US-led bloc’s head, Jens Stoltenberg, appearing to endorse the tactic.

“To be honest, I don’t know what the NATO secretary-general is saying,” Putin told reporters, adding that Stoltenberg “did not suffer from any dementia” when he worked constructively with Russia as the prime minister of Norway (2005-2013).

“This constant escalation can lead to serious consequences. If these serious consequences occur in Europe, how will the US behave, bearing in mind our parity in the field of strategic weapons? Hard to say. Do they want global conflict?”

Putin explained that long-range precision strikes require space reconnaissance assets – which Kiev does not have, but the US does – and that this targeting is already done by “highly qualified specialists” from the West, without Ukrainian participation.

“So, these representatives of NATO countries, especially in Europe, especially in small countries, must be aware of what they are playing with,” the Russian president continued, noting that a lot of these countries have “a small territory and a very dense population”.

Putin told reporters that their colleagues in the West are ignoring Ukrainian attacks on Belgorod and other Russian regions along the border, and only focusing on the Russian advance on Kharkov.

“What caused this? They did, with their own hands. Well, then, they will reap what they have sown. The same thing can happen if long-range precision weapons are used,” the Russian president added.

Asked if Russia was refusing to negotiate with Ukraine, Putin told reporters that such claims by the West were baffling.

“We don’t refuse!” he stressed.

“I’ve said it a thousand times, it’s like they don’t have ears!”

The Ukrainian side initialed an agreement with Russia in March 2022, then publicly reneged and refused to negotiate any further, Putin explained. He described Kiev’s current “peace conference” effort in Switzerland as an attempt to get some kind of international buy-in for its entirely unrealistic “peace platform,” which isn’t working out.

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