Russia’s defense minister has laid out Moscow’s plan to continue the full-scale invasion of Ukraine until at least 2025, in a speech that has raised more than a few eyebrows.

 

Speaking to the Russian Defense Ministry Board, Sergei Shoigu said he had ambitious plans to increase the effectiveness of his troops, in particular the elite airborne units (VDV).

 

But one section of his speech deserves special attention, helpfully translated by Anton Gerashchenko.

The blame

 

Shoigu said: “Such cynical actions by the west and their henchmen in Kyiv are only pushing Ukraine towards total destruction.”

 

By blaming the west and Kyiv for the destruction of Ukraine, Shoigu appears to be omitting one major factor – the full-scale invasion which he has overseen for nearly 20 months now.

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During that time, entire cities have been razed to the ground by Russian forces, tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed and “one of the worst human-caused disasters of our time” occurred when Russian forces blew up the Kakhovka dam in June.

 

Then there’s the matter of Russian troop losses – as many as half a million by some estimates.

The weapons

 

Shoigu said: “In these circumstances, we continue to build up the power of the armed forces. In particular, by supplying modern weapons and improving the training of troops, taking into account the experience of the special military operation.”

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Kallas said that training Ukraine’s forces on their territory would not be escalatory, adding that “Russia’s propaganda is about being at war with NATO; they don’t need an excuse.”

 

Shoigu’s claims of supplying his troops with “modern weaponry” and “improved training” are belied by the troops themselves, the reality of the situation facing them often surfacing in intercepted phone calls released by Ukraine's Military Intelligence (HUR).

 

In the latest, a Russian soldier claims his unit is armed with “machine guns from 1985” and says they don’t have enough ammunition in the face of devastating Ukrainian artillery fire which recently killed three of his comrades.

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The woman the soldier is speaking to is furious at the news, saying on Russian state TV they report Moscow’s troops have plenty of ammunition and she’s seen videos of train loads of equipment being shipped to the front lines.

 

She insists President Putin mustn’t be aware of the true situation, to which the soldier replies: “He knows everything.”

 

There’s also plenty of other evidence that Russia is supplying its troops with anything but modern equipment – as far back as March this year, a trainload of obsolete, museum-grade T-54 tanks was spotted on a transport train heading west from a Russian military repair base.

The plan

 

Shoigu said: “The consistent implementation of the measures in the action plan until 2025 will make it possible to achieve the planned goals.”

 

Shoigu didn’t elaborate on which “planned goals” he was referring to but it’s safe to say those associated with Russia’s “special military operation” haven’t gone quite as the Kremlin expected.

 

According to Putin and his military planners, Kyiv was supposed to be in Russian hands and its Ukrainian government decapitated within days of the launch of the full-scale invasion, which is now approaching its 20th month.

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How do we know this? Kremlin state media accidentally published pre-written articles celebrating as much before they were swiftly deleted.

These expectations of a swift Russian victory were also evidently passed on to some of the officers in charge of the doomed operation to take Kyiv – their parade uniforms were found in the remains of destroyed tanks.

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