Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that Ukraine’s counter-offensive had “failed” when he received his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko for talks in St. Petersburg.
The Presidents of Russia and Belarus meet in Saint Petersburg
In response to Lukashenko’s comments that “there is no counter-offensive,” Putin replied: “There is, but it has failed.”
Putin, who ordered a special military operation in Ukraine last February, said Ukrainian casualties have surpassed 26,000 since the counteroffensive began last month.
Putin said at a meeting with Lukashenko that the Ukrainian counter-offensive has started but can already be considered a failure. With this he answered the words of the Belarusian leader that there had been no offensive. Putin specified that although it existed, it ultimately failed. pic.twitter.com/JTWbXMrWKh
– Titov (@GonestAlbert)
July 23, 2023
For his part, Lukashenko stated that more than 15 Leopard tanks and more than 20 Bradley tanks were destroyed in the last 24 hours.
The Ukrainian authorities have not yet commented on Putin’s and Lukashenko’s statements, and independent confirmation of their claims is difficult due to the ongoing war.
He added that plans to “dismember” Ukraine and sever the western regions of the country are “unacceptable”.
Russian officials claimed that Poland wanted to invade and occupy the western parts of Ukraine.
Lukashenko also hinted that fighters from the Russian mercenary group Wagner, now stationed in Belarus, were keen to cross the border into Poland.
“Maybe I shouldn’t say it, but I will. The Wagnerians started pressuring us: ‘I want to go west. Allow us.’ I said why you gotta go west? ‘Well, take a trip to Warsaw, to Rzeszow’.”
Russia and Belarus are allies and are linked in a union called the Union State. Lukashenko also brokered the deal last month to end a short-lived Wagner mutiny.