Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Western deliveries of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine will only prolong the conflict.
Speaking at an economic forum in Vladivostok, Putin also said 1,000 to 1,500 Russians are volunteering for the Russian military each day and that 270,000 had signed up during the past six months.
Putin also said Ukraine’s counteroffensive, launched in June to try to reclaim territory from invading Russian forces, had failed.
Ukrainian forces have recaptured some villages in eastern and southern Ukraine as they try to break through Russian defensive lines and mine fields.
The United States announced its latest military aid package for Ukraine last week as Secretary of State Antony Blinken led a delegation to Kyiv to consult with Ukrainian leaders. Blinken described the progress of the counteroffensive as “very encouraging.”
The United States continues to assess the progress Ukrainian forces are making on the ground, and Russia’s overall strategic goals have failed in Ukraine, said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller during a news briefing Monday.
“Their goals were to take Kyiv, to take the majority, if not all of the country, to overthrow the democratically elected government of Ukraine. In all of those things they have failed,” he said.
Miller noted that the Ukrainians have taken back around 50% of the territory that Russia occupied at the height of its full-scale invasion.
The State Department spokesman said that one indication of Russia’s difficulties in sustaining its military effort is [Russian President Vladimir] Putin “traveling across his own country, hat in hand, to beg [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un for military assistance.”
The Biden administration is reportedly considering supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles that are packed with cluster bombs and that could cause significant damage deeper within Russian-occupied territory, according to four U.S. officials.
After seeing the success of cluster munitions delivered in 155 mm artillery rounds in recent months, the U.S. is considering shipping Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) that can fly up to 306 kilometers and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles that have a 72-kilometer range and are packed with cluster bombs, according to Reuters news agency. The GMLRS rocket system would be able to disperse up to 404 cluster munitions. Ukraine has had a version of the GMLRS system in its arsenal for months,
The Biden administration has for months been mulling over the supply of ATACMS, fearing their shipment to Ukraine would be perceived as an overly aggressive move against Russia.__VOA News