Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visiting the Army 2023 Exhibition on August 14, 2023, in Kubinka, Russia.
Russia’s defense minister said its invasion of Ukraine could last until at least 2025.
This is a far cry from Putin’s reported goal of capturing Kyiv within days of the invasion.
Sergei Shoigu said Russia is continuing to “build up the combat power” of its armed forces.
At the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US intelligence assessed that Russia could conquer Kyiv in just three days.
In fact, CIA Director Bill Burns told lawmakers weeks after the start of the invasion that Putin’s strategy was centered on “seizing Kyiv within the first two days of the campaign.”
Now 18 months into the war, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu seemingly admitted Russia’s offensives in Ukraine could last until at least 2025.
Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor in Ukraine’s internal affairs ministry, posted a video on X, formerly known as Twitter, in which Shoigu said the Russian army is continuing to “build up the combat power” of its forces to face Ukraine’s counteroffensive.
To achieve its military goals, Shoigu said Russia was supplying its troops with modern weapons and offering improved training, despite reports indicating Russian troops lack advanced training and are low on weapons.
Shoigu added that Russia could achieve its military goals with “consistent implementation of the measures in the action until 2025.”
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin and allies like Shoigu have repeatedly stressed the need to keep Ukraine inside Russia’s sphere of influence, and to defeat what they describe as Ukraine’s “Nazi regime”.
But, 18 months into the conflict, Russia only occupies parts of eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as the Crimean Peninsula, which it annexed in 2014.
Ukrainian troops are also pushing back hard against Russian forces, focusing their efforts on breaking through Russia’s heavily fortified defensive lines across occupied territory in southern and eastern Ukraine.
Russian forces are coming under intense pressure from Ukrainian attacks in the southern Ukrainian Zaporizhzhia Oblast, with the Institute for the Study of War, among others, saying in recent commentary that Russian forces are stretched thin and that elite units are sustaining high casualties during counterattacks.
On Tuesday, the ISW said that Russian defenses appeared to lack strength in depth on a key part of the front line where Ukraine has made recent gains.