Russian President Vladimir Putin visited on Wednesday for the first time Russian soldiers wounded in Ukraine, three months after the beginning of the offensive against its neighbor.
According to footage shown on Russian television, Putin, dressed in a white coat, spoke with several servicemen, asking about their hometowns and family situations. The servicemen were standing by their beds and their wounds were not apparent.
Speaking to a soldier in blue and white striped pajamas, the president said that his nine-month-old son will be proud of daddy. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was also present.
Russia does not communicate much about the human toll of the conflict in Ukraine. The last figures were published on March 25, and at that time, the Russian army had admitted 1,351 military personnel killed and 3,825 wounded.
The presidential spokesman had previously indicated that this visit, as the offensive in Ukraine enters its fourth month, does not signal a new stage.
His schedule simply allows him to go in person, said Dmitry Peskov.
Russia claims that its offensive against Ukraine, launched on February 24, aims to protect the Russian-speaking population from genocide and to denazify the country.
The authorities also assure that it is going as planned, even though in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance, Moscow gave up its offensive on Kiev at the end of March and concentrated its operations in the east.
Despite fierce fighting for three months, the Russian army is advancing only with great difficulty, suggesting a long conflict of attrition.
Russia’s defense minister and the secretary of Russia’s powerful Security Council both hinted Tuesday that Moscow will have to fight a long battle in Ukraine to achieve the goals of its intervention.