Two top Russian security officials vowed on Tuesday that Moscow will achieve all the goals set for the “military operation” in Ukraine, appearing to address the fact that the invasion, which had been expected by many to be a swift rush to victory, has entered its fourth month this week with no end in sight.
The secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, said in an interview published Tuesday that the Russian government “is not chasing deadlines.”
“Nazism must either be 100% eradicated, or it will raise its head in a few years, and in an even uglier form,” he said in a response to a question about the war dragging on.
Russia has falsely called the war a campaign to “denazify” Ukraine — a country with a democratically elected Jewish president who wants closer ties with the West.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting of security officials that Russia is deliberately slowing down its offensive by arranging cease-fires and humanitarian corridors “in order to avoid casualties among the civilians.”
Reporting on the ground by The Associated Press and others has found that the Russian forces have repeatedly hit civilian targets, such as hospitals, schools, and venues where civilians were sheltering.
Meanwhile, Russia’s parliament said it was to consider scrapping the upper age limit for signing up to join the army, in a sign Moscow may be looking to recruit more troops for its military campaign in Ukraine.
Under current legislation, only Russians aged 18 to 40 and foreign nationals aged 18 to 30 have the right to sign their first military service contract.
A draft bill on the agenda of the lower house State Duma would completely lift that upper age limit.
“Highly professional specialists are needed to use high-precision weapons and operate weapons and military equipment,” said a note accompanying the draft bill.
The note said that such specialists usually acquire the necessary skills when they reach their early- to mid-40s.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24 but three months into Moscow’s military campaign the offensive has “lost momentum,” Western defense chiefs say.
Russia is believed to have suffered significant human and material losses in Ukraine even though precise details have not been revealed by the Kremlin.
Washington and European countries have poured billions of dollars worth of arms into Ukraine to help the country’s forces beat back Russian troops.