Putin Admits to “Complicated” Situation in Annexed Ukrainian Regions

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin made a rare admission of Russia’s military difficulties in the four illegally annexed regions of Ukraine, as Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited a city in eastern Ukraine that Moscow has invested significant resources into attacking but has still failed to capture.

Putin, according to the Russian state news agency TASS, issued a video speech in which he urged the country’s security and intelligence agencies to “significantly improve” their work and continue their efforts to “prevent terrorist attacks.”

The clip was released on a holiday honoring Russia’s security agencies.

Putin’s address once more emphasized Moscow’s growing recognition that the war in Ukraine is not proceeding as planned. The Russian leader stated earlier this month that the conflict in Ukraine might become a “long-term process” after Moscow was forced to cede some of the unlawfully acquired regions in September, including the city of Kherson.

Putin annexed four regions of eastern and southern Ukraine in September in an effort to solidify Russia’s territorial gains and dissuade western support for Kiev.

However, Putin’s plan has backfired spectacularly as Ukraine’s counter-offensive, backed by modern western weaponry, has recaptured land he claimed as Russian. Among the Ukrainian gains is the city of Kherson, the only regional capital conquered by Russia during the February-begun assault.