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Putin Admits 'Mistakes' As Russian Troops Are Driven Out Of Another Ukrainian City

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 10/3/2022 Kate Nicholson
Vladimir Putin has admitted that Russia made some © Provided by HuffPost UK Vladimir Putin has admitted that Russia made some

Vladimir Putin finally admitted there have been “mistakes” over the partial mobilisation of Russian reserves, according to the Ministry of Defence.

His admission also came shortly before Russia lost another Ukrainian territory over the weekend, Lyman on Saturday. It was twice as humiliating for the Kremlin, as Moscow had actually just attempted to consolidate its power over land in the east by illegally annexing it on Friday and claiming it as a Russian soil.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest development in the ongoing war.

Why is Putin’s admission important?

The Ministry of Defence, which revealed the Russian president made the confession while addressing his National Security Council last Thursday, explained that this is a rare acknowledgment the war is not going well for Russia.

According to the UK officials, Putin said: “A lot of questions are being raised during this mobilisation campaign, and we must promptly correct our mistakes and not repeat them.”

Putin mobilised 300,000 reservists and threatened to deploy nuclear weapons too on September 21 – but this has not deterred Ukraine’s astounding counteroffensive.

The MoD explained: “Putin’s unusually rapid acknowledgement of problems highlights the dysfunction of the mobilisation over its first week.

“Local officials are likely unclear on the exact scope and legal rationale of the campaign.

“They have almost certainly drafted some personnel who are outside the definitions claimed by Putin and the Ministry of Defence.

“As drafted reservists continue to assembly at tented transit camps, Russian officials are likely struggling to provide training and in finding officers to lead new units.”

What is particularly surprising is this admission happened the day before Putin officially declared four regions of Ukraine part of Russia, after holding sham referendums.

Putin also confidently threatened to come down hard on Ukraine if it tried to reclaim any of the territory he had claimed as new Russian land only last week.

Russian annexed regions in Ukraine. (Photo: via PA Graphics/Press Association Images) © Provided by HuffPost UK Russian annexed regions in Ukraine. (Photo: via PA Graphics/Press Association Images)

What’s the latest from the frontline?

While the MoD only revealed Putin’s claims on Monday, he had actually said them last week – before the Russian Defence Ministry admitted it had withdrawn its troops from the strategic eastern town of Lyman, in the Donetsk region.

To recap, the Donetsk region is one of the four areas Russia annexed on Friday. In fact, Kyiv reclaimed the town just a day after Moscow “annexed” it.

Russia’s Defence Ministry tried to explain its retreat on Saturday, claiming: “In connection with the creation of a threat of encirclement, allied troops were withdrawn from the settlement of [Lyman] to more advantageous lines.”

“The enemy, having a significant superiority in forces and means, introduced reserves and continued the offensive in this direction,” it added.

It also alleged that it had inflicted heavy losses on the Ukrainian frontline but there is no evidence for this yet.

Lyman was a strategic and logistical hub for Russia, and without it, Moscow’s supply lines will take yet another hit.

As US Defence secretary Lloyd Austin told Reuters: “And without those, [supply] routes it will be more difficult. So it presents a sort of dilemma for the Russians going forward.

“And we think the Ukrainians have done great work to get there and to begin to occupy the city.”

What does this mean for Ukraine?

Reclaiming Lyman is not just a boost for Ukrainian morale, but a strategic bonus.

Now they can move into the Luhansk region – which would cause particularly embarrassment to the Kremlin considering it announced this region fully occupied in early July, and also annexed it last Friday.

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces, Serhii Cherevatyi, told Reuters: “Lyman is important because it is the next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian Donbas. It is an opportunity to go further to Kreminna and Sievierodonetsk and it is psychologically very important.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy also vowed to take more areas after pushing Russia out of Lyman. On Saturday, he said: “During this week, there were more Ukrainian flags in Donbas. It will be even more in a week.”

The Ukrainian president continued: “Ukraine will return its own. Both in the east and in the south. And what they tried to annex now, and Crimea, which has been called annexed since 2014.

“Our flag will be everywhere.” 

Amid continued reports of low morale among Russian troops, and a lack of training for new recruits, videos of Ukrainian soldiers dancing even before Lyman was successfully reclaimed have been widely shared online.

What does Russia think? 

According to journalists who watch Russian state TV, commentators are struggling to spin Russia’s losses in Lyman.

Julia Davis said the former deputy commander of Russia’s southern military district couldn’t explain the defeat, while the BBC’s Francis Scarr noticed how some TV channels just didn’t mention the battle at all.

Scarr claimed only Rossiya 1 was close to the truth when the host admitted there was a “difficult” situation emerging in the Donbas, but even the anchor still insisted that Russia was still “beating off the desperate onslaught of Ukrainian army troops”.

Meanwhile, Russians are said to be trying to flee the country in droves to avoid being called up to fight. 

More than 2,000 anti-war protesters have also been arrested since Putin’s partial mobilisation announcement, according to the human rights group OVD-Info.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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