Putin admits Ukraine offensive may be «long» but has achieved «significant» results

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to the Crimean bridge. – Mikhail Metzel/Kremlin via Plane / DPA

Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged that the military offensive on Ukraine, which he continues to describe as a «special operation,» may be a «long» process, although he said it has already led to «significant» progress, referring to the forced annexation of four eastern Ukrainian regions.

The president, who has headed a meeting of the Human Rights Council, has welcomed the appearance of «new territories», thanks to which the Sea of Azov would already be an «internal» territory, allegedly surrounded by areas belonging to the Russian Federation in Moscow’s eyes.

Putin continues to defend the referendums with which his government justifies the annexation of Kharkov, Zaporiyia, Donetsk and Lugansk, since, in his opinion, they showed that the population of these regions «wants to be in Russia» and «considers itself part of this world», according to the Interfax news agency.

Regarding the military evolution of the offensive, the president has ruled out a new mobilization of troops, after managing to recruit 300,000 people in the previous initiative, since for now only half of them would be deployed in Ukraine and, of them, only 77,000 in the combat front.

He also pointed out that, although there have been desertions, they are isolated cases. Putin has defended that it is not possible to speak of «massive» desertions in the ranks of the Armed Forces, in an attempt to get out of information that he attributes to «phonies».