Russian army must tackle problems it has suffered in Ukraine: Putin

By Reuters   December 22, 2022 | 02:02 am PT
Russian army must tackle problems it has suffered in Ukraine: Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov attend an exhibition of military equipment after a meeting of the Defense Ministry Board in Moscow, Russia, December 21, 2022. Photo by Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters
President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the Russian army must learn from and fix the problems it had suffered in Ukraine, promising to give the military whatever it needed to prosecute a war nearing the end of its 10th month.

In a speech to defense chiefs in Moscow, Putin said there were no financial limits on what the government would provide in terms of equipment and hardware.

"We have no funding restrictions. The country and the government are providing everything that the army asks for," he said.

Putin acknowledged, not for the first time, that the call-up of 300,000 reservists that he ordered in September had not gone smoothly.

"The partial mobilization that was carried out revealed certain problems, as everyone well knows, which should be promptly addressed," he said.

The call-up drew strong criticism even from Kremlin allies, as it emerged that military commissariats were enlisting many men who were physically unfit or too old, and new recruits were lacking basic equipment such as sleeping bags and winter clothing.

Putin also referred to other unspecified problems in the military and said that constructive criticism should be heeded.

"I ask the Ministry of Defense to be attentive to all civilian initiatives, including taking into account criticism and responding correctly, in a timely manner," he said.

"It is clear that the reaction of people who see problems - and there are always problems in such major, complex work - can be emotional, but we need to hear those who do not hush up the existing problems, but strive to contribute to their solution."

It was the latest in a series of recent comments in which Putin has acknowledged, albeit obliquely, the challenges his army is facing.

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