Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Southern Military District headquarters in Rostov-on-Don as he assessed the state of his country’s forces in Ukraine as the war drags on toward winter. It was his second public visit to the headquarters in less than a month.
Video shared by a Russian state news agency showed Putin being greeted late Thursday by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff shortly after arriving at the southern military headquarters which is less than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Ukraine’s southeastern border.
Almost 21 months of war have significantly eroded both Russia’s and Ukraine’s military resources. As winter comes, the fighting is likely to further settle into attritional warfare and analysts expect little change to the more than 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front line.
Shortly after Putin’s visit to the military headquarters, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia was pressing ahead with its goals in Ukraine.
“In the absence of conditions for a political-diplomatic settlement, we are continuing the special military operation,” Peskov said.
Commenting on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s promise of new gains by Kyiv’s forces, Peskov said, “President Zelenskyy has been frantically promising military successes to his donors, who are worried.”
“They should realize that they won’t score a battlefield victory,” Peskov said. “The sooner they come to realize that, the earlier conditions for a settlement could emerge.”