Putin to assess Ukraine conflict; will set Russia’s military aims for next year

The Kremlin announced on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet senior defence officials on Wednesday to set the nation’s military objectives for the year 2023. Putin will also assess the conflict in Ukraine. 

The Kremlin said, “On December 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold an expanded meeting of the Collegium of the Russian Defence Ministry… the work of Russia’s Armed Forces in 2022 will be summed up and tasks for next year will be set.” 

Putin also admitted that the situation in Russian-occupied Ukraine is “complicated”. Putin’s rare admission came during a video message addressed to Russia’s security services. 

He said, “The situation in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions is extremely difficult.” He even urged the security agencies to identify “traitors, spies and diversionists”. 

In September, Putin announced the annexation of four regions in the east and south of Ukraine. It happened after referendums were held there. 

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On Tuesday, Putin also gave awards to the Russia-installed leaders of annexed Ukrainian territories. The Russian authorities didn’t provide a specific reason why the leaders of the Donetsk region Denis Pushilin and Luhansk region Leonid Pasechnik were awarded First class order “For Merit to the Fatherland”. 

Yevgeny Balitsky and Vladimir Saldo, the leaders of the Zaporizhzhia region and Kherson region respectively received the Third class order “For Merit to the Fatherland”. 

Apart from that, he also gave the award to the members of the military taking part in the ongoing Ukraine war, what Russia calls a “special military operation” in its neighbouring nation. Renowned scientists and “hero-mothers” – mothers of many children were also awarded. 

Meanwhile, in a telephone conversation, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to use his influence on Russia and ask Putin to end the war. 

Steinmeier’s office said in a statement: “The president underlined the common interest of China and Europe in an end to the war (in Ukraine) as well as respect for Ukrainian sovereignty and the required withdrawal of Russian troops.” 

“He asked Xi to use his influence on Russia and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to this end,” it added. 

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