Putin Awaits Victory

Parisa Pasandepour
10 Min Read
Putin Awaits Victory

Putin awaits victory

Vladimir Putin once again emphasized that peace will only be achieved when Russia achieves its goals, and he addressed the leaders of the European Union, urging them not to betray the Ukrainians.

Vladimir Putin, in the framework of the end-of-year press conference, held for the first time since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, spoke directly to the Russian people in a live television program.

The Russian president, who refrained from holding a televised conference last year, which is a common tradition at the end of the year, said in this year’s program that Russia’s sovereignty is under threat, and peace with Ukraine will only happen when the unrealized goals are achieved. After reiterating the strength of the country’s economy, the Kremlin leader focused more on what remains a special military operation against Ukraine.

Putin, who recently announced that he will run as a candidate for the upcoming presidential term in the March elections, has shown himself as a confident and powerful leader to the people. Unlike previous terms, foreign reporters were not allowed to attend this time, and the Kremlin only invited selected media outlets to participate in the program.

Putin’s speech took place on a television program called ‘Direct Line with Vladimir Putin’, where ordinary citizens are given the opportunity to ask questions to the President. According to Russian state media, over one and a half million questions were submitted, and some of these questions, which were displayed on the large studio screens, seemed to be provocative and infuriating for the Russian government. It was as if they were saying, ‘When does the Russia we live in become like the Russia you advertise on television?’

Last December, Putin canceled his annual press conference for the first time in ten years. Observers and experts believe that he wanted to avoid uncomfortable questions because his army had suffered consecutive defeats in the battlefield. However, even after two years since the start of the conflict, the fate of the confrontation remains shrouded in ambiguity, and it seems that Moscow deduces that it will ultimately prevail due to its determination.

This conference took place after the recent Ukrainian offensive failed to penetrate Russian lines, and it appears that Moscow believes that the support of NATO allies in Brussels is weakening.

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Putin’s remarks about Ukraine

Putin stated that Russia’s goals regarding Ukraine have not changed nearly two years after the start of the war. He emphasized once again that these goals include the de-nationalization and demilitarization of Ukraine. He said that peace will only be possible after demilitarization, and if they refuse to reach an agreement, we will be forced to take further actions, including military intervention.

The Kremlin leader, in an unusual reference to numbers, said that Russian forces are improving their positions on the front line. He continued by stating that currently, there are 617,000 Russian soldiers present on the front, with approximately 300,000 of them being conscripted in the past year, and over 486,000 volunteering for military service. He stated that based on these numbers, there is currently no need for new forces.

The Russian President did not provide information about military casualties, but revealed that close associates’ children have been killed. According to a report from the US intelligence agency, it is estimated that since the beginning of the war, around 315,000 soldiers, nearly 90% of Russia’s military personnel, have been killed or wounded in action.

The President of Russia claims that while Ukraine is trying to maintain its foothold on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region, they have lost some of their best fighters. Putin further adds that he thinks this action by any country’s political leader is foolish and irresponsible, and believes it is a tragedy for the people.

New aid to Ukraine

In this televised conference, Vladimir Putin did not neglect to talk about Russia’s relations with the United States and Europe, criticizing both for attempting to push Russia into second or third place and disregarding Russian interests. He described the United States as an important country that has become blind by its own imperialism.

Putin then requested that the United States respect nations and countries, and stated that Russia is ready to revive and improve its relations with America whenever this happens. Putin also expressed his willingness to improve relations with Europe, but at the same time emphasized that Russia has not made any mistakes with its strong response. He referenced the Ukrainian revolution in 2014, stating that Europe and the United States had left us with no other choice.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin was speaking from Moscow, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was also giving a speech at the coalition headquarters in Brussels, issuing a warning that if Putin wins in Ukraine, there is a real danger that his aggression will not stop there. Stoltenberg reiterated this message during a meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who had expressed doubts about sending weapons to Ukraine. Stoltenberg stated that Putin is preparing for a tough and prolonged war, and that cutting off military aid only prolongs the war without bringing it to an end.

The European Union: Keeping promises or breaking them?

While President Putin was speaking from Moscow, European Union leaders were gathering in Brussels for the start of the European Council. The focus was entirely on the issue of Ukraine, with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who effectively held 27 countries hostage in two key supportive actions for Russian President Putin, approving a €50 billion fund for the war-torn Ukrainian economy and negotiations for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.

Negotiations will continue until a bitter end, and it has been announced that if no agreement is reached on December 14th and 15th, the summit will continue until Monday. Since the $60 billion military aid package for Ukraine has been halted in the US Congress, Brussels’ support for continuing the fight against Russia has become more necessary.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, reminded European leaders in a video message of a promised decision that is not something politicians need, but rather what the people need. Both those in Europe and those fighting in Ukraine believe that Europe can prevent a return to tense and fruitless conflicts between capitals. Zelensky said that ten years ago, the people of Ukraine rose under the flag of the European Union, and today he asks you not to betray the people and their faith in Europe, and not to give Putin the first victory of the year.

It can be inferred that Vladimir Putin is currently speaking as a winner and victor, even if it is true that Russia is improving and Ukraine is weakening. The outcome of the war has not yet been determined.

It seems that the scenario has changed, but many indicators can still change. Events far beyond the borders of Ukraine, such as the European and United States elections, can also determine the fate of this country. Today, we can only say that what the allies hoped for, which was a counterattack, did not materialize, and it appears that the momentum on the ground is shifting in Moscow’s favor.


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Master's Degree in International Relations from the Faculty of Diplomatic Sciences and International Relations, Genoa, Italy.