Vladimir Putin ordered his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to stop the Ukrainian counteroffensive by October. An inside source from the Kremlin said this, confirming that Putin had given the defense minister a deadline to stabilize the situation on the front line, repel Ukrainian attacks and put the initiative back in the hands of the Russian armed forces. The Russian military is believed to be considering targeted counterattacks to bring the Ukrainian offensive to a climax, even if it compromises Russia’s military capabilities.
Putin celebrates Russian counterattacks despite lack of overall success
The ISW analysis highlights that Putin recognized the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive on June 9, repeatedly emphasizing that Ukrainian troops would not gain a significant advantage and would suffer significant losses due to the robust Russian defense. The Kremlin and Putin portray Russia’s defensive measures as a significant success, with sustained Russian counterattacks celebrated as isolated victories despite no significant progress overall on the battlefield.
Putin wants to undermine trust in the Ukrainian armed forces
Experts suspect that Putin’s strategy is aimed at undermining trust in the Ukrainian armed forces both in Ukraine and in the West. ISW emphasizes that Putin may have ordered all Russian defensive positions to be held in order to create the impression that Ukrainian offensive actions had no significant tactical or operational impact despite significant Western support. This approach can only be successful if Russian forces effectively prevent Ukrainian forces from liberating significant areas.