Question: Mr President, can I ask you a question about the Ukrainian counteroffensive? Many experts in the West have been saying these past few days that the decisive stage in Ukraine’s counteroffensive is about to begin or is even underway already, while everything that happened before that was nothing and that now they are going to “show us” what is what.
Have you witnessed any attempts by Ukraine to step up military action and is this really the decisive stage? Overall, what is your assessment of the situation on the frontline? Can I also ask you to provide details on the casualties on both sides, both for Russia and Ukraine? Can you share the latest data, please?
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: As we have already said, and as confirmed by the actual action along the line of contact, the so-called counteroffensive, this broad counteroffensive, started on June 4, 2023. This is an obvious fact, demonstrated, among other things, by the fact that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have engaged their so-called strategic reserves.
As for the past few days, we can confirm that combat action has entered its intensive phase, to a significant extent. The clashes are primarily concentrated in what they call in the West the direction of the main attack – the Zaporozhye sector. Yesterday, there was serious military action within the area of responsibility of the 810th brigade of the Black Sea’s Naval Infantry and the 71st Regiment from the 42nd division of the Southern Military District’s 58thArmy.
I can tell you without any exaggeration that our soldiers and officers have demonstrated mass heroism on a vast scale. The enemy used armoured machinery in large numbers by sending 50 pieces of military hardware into battle. Of them, 39 units of equipment, including 26 tanks and 13 armoured personnel carriers, have been destroyed. The personnel of the units I mentioned earlier destroyed 60 percent of them, while our combat pilots destroyed the other 40 percent.
Today, at my instruction, our troops will be awarded state decorations directly in the area of hostilities. I have already instructed the Defence Ministry to draft proposals for bestowing honorary designations on these units. The enemy has not succeeded in any of the sectors of combat activity. All attempts at the counteroffensive have been stopped. The enemy has been forced to retreat with substantial losses.
Today, they tried to recover the damaged assets, as well as pick up the wounded and casualties after leaving them on the battlefield yesterday but were also dispersed. This is the current situation as of this moment.
Question: Can I ask you to share the losses?
Vladimir Putin: Of course, apart from the military hardware, the adversary sustained multiple casualties of over 200 people. Unfortunately, we lost people too, but the difference is overwhelming with many times fewer casualties on our side. In fact, our casualties amount to less than 10 percent of the enemy’s losses. Let me reiterate and emphasise that everything that happened over the past 24 hours demonstrates the mass heroism of our soldiers and officers at its best.