Despite the recent military setbacks, Moscow's leadership is undeterred: Kremlin spokesman Peskov says the "special operation" in Ukraine will continue until Moscow's goals are achieved. He dodged the question of Putin's reaction to the loss reports.
Despite the recent failures in eastern Ukraine, Russia wants to continue its war against the neighboring country. "The special military operation will continue," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Interfax news agency. "It will continue until the goals set initially are achieved," he added. Peskov was only evasive when asked by journalists whether Russia's military leadership still enjoyed the trust of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.
He left open the question of a possible mobilization to support the operation in view of the Ukrainian counter-offensive. Regarding the demand by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for a demilitarized zone around the Russian-occupied Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhia, which has repeatedly come under fire, Peskov says there is no discussion about it.
Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said Russian forces would attack areas in the Kharkiv region that had been recaptured by Ukrainian troops in recent days. In the cities of Kupyansk and Izyum and the surrounding area, "fighters and equipment of the Ukrainian armed forces were targeted" from the air, with rockets and artillery, said the spokesman for the Defense Ministry.
Last weekend, however, Russia's army suffered one of its heaviest defeats since invading the neighboring country more than six months ago: under pressure from Ukrainian counter-offensives, troops were largely withdrawn from the Kharkiv region in the east. Officially, Moscow justified the withdrawal with a strategic "regrouping" of its own units.