In a speech to his military, Kremlin chief Putin announces an increase in the Russian army. In an armaments factory south of Moscow, he takes responsibility for the industry and even climbs onto a battle tank.
Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has called on the Russian defense industry to do more to support his country's armed forces. "The key task of defense industry companies is to provide all units with all the necessary weapons, technology, ammunition and equipment," said the Russian President during a visit to a defense factory in Tula, south of Moscow. "In addition, this supply must be provided in the required scope and corresponding quantity, and within the deadlines," he demanded.
At a meeting at the Defense Ministry on Wednesday, Putin announced a faster pace of upgrading and modernizing the armed forces. There are "no financial restrictions" on further upgrading of the army, he said. In addition, the armed forces are to be expanded by almost 350,000 soldiers to a strength of 1.5 million men.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin announced that despite Western arms deliveries, progress was being made in the "demilitarization" of Ukraine, which Russia had invaded ten months ago. "You can see that there is significant progress here on the road to demilitarization," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. At the beginning of the war on February 24, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin named the destruction of weapons in Ukraine as a key goal.
The day before, Putin said that Ukraine's military potential and the supplies of weapons from the Soviet era made by European states were almost exhausted. Regarding the handing over of the Patriot anti-aircraft defense system from the USA to Ukraine, he said that this would prolong the war. At the same time he described the weapons as old. He opined that Russia could overcome anti-aircraft defenses. "There's always an antidote," he said. Patriot anti-aircraft defenses don't work as well as Russia's S-300, Putin claimed. Russia will "crack" the Patriots, he announced. According to Putin, the Ukrainian armaments industry has reached the end of its capacity, while the Russian can still increase its arms production.