MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he had “no doubt” Moscow would emerge victorious in Ukraine, despite military setbacks in the nearly year-long offensive, reported Al Jazeera.
Speaking during a visit to a factory in St Petersburg that makes air defence systems, Putin said he had “no doubt” Russia would emerge victorious in the conflict – despite suffering a string of military setbacks in its now nearly year-long offensive.
Victory is “guaranteed, I have no doubt about it,” Putin told workers at a factory in Russia’s second city Saint Petersburg, saying “the unity and solidarity of the Russian people, the courage and heroism of our fighters and, of course, the work of the military-industrial sector” will secure victory.
The statement comes as Ukraine grapples with the loss of its interior minister in a deadly helicopter crash.
Ukraine’s interior minister Denys Monastyrskyy is among at least 14 people killed after a helicopter crashed in a Kyiv suburb Wednesday, officials said. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the crash a “tragedy” and authorities have launched an investigation, reported CNN.
One child was among the dead and 25 others were wounded in Wednesday’s incident in the town of Brovary, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said.
Monastyrskyy, 42, was in charge of the Ukrainian police and other emergency services. He is the highest-profile Ukrainian casualty since Russia launched its invasion last February.
It was not immediately clear what caused the helicopter, which authorities said had been en route to front-line positions in the country’s east, to come down. Ukrainian officials made no reference to any Russian attack in the area at the time and said they launched an investigation, reported Al Jazeera.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Ihor Klymenko, the national police chief, had been appointed acting interior minister.
Zelenskyy urged Western leaders to make faster decisions to counter Russia’s war and support Kyiv with heavy weaponry, saying in virtual remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos that “the tyranny is outpacing the democracy.”
The US is expected to announce one of its largest military aid packages for Ukraine in coming days, according to officials. Kyiv has been pleading for modern tanks, a request the US is not yet willing to grant, despite the UK and Poland saying they will, reported CNN.
Earlier, Putin attended an event with veterans to mark the 80th anniversary of the lifting of the World War II siege of St Petersburg, then known as Leningrad, which Nazi German forces blockaded for nearly 900 days, reported Al Jazeera.
He told the war veterans Russia was fighting in Ukraine to defend ethnic Russians and Russian speakers, who Moscow alleges are subject to systematic discrimination in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Kyiv rejects that allegation and says the Kremlin has used it as a pretext for what is simply an aggressive land grab.
However, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow saw no prospects for peace talks and reiterated the Kremlin’s position that there can be no negotiations with Zelenskyy’s government.
Russia has said talks are possible only if Ukraine recognises Moscow’s claims to Ukrainian territory in the country’s east and south. Kyiv says it will fight until Russia withdraws all of its troops from the country, reported Al Jazeera. (ANI)