Putin Publicly Hails “Positive” Trend In Ukraine In Surprisingly Upbeat Tone

After Russia claimed control of the salt-mining town of Soledar in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Russian President Vladimir Putin told state TV that the military operation in Ukraine had gained positive momentum and that he hoped Russian forces would deliver more wins, according to a report in Reuters.

Putin says Russian military operation going well in Ukraine | Reuters

The private mercenaries from the Wagner Group claimed they had captured Soledar on January 11. But on Friday, January 13, Russia’s General Staff said in a daily update that it was Russian forces who took Soledar. However, Reuters could not independently verify the reports. The town, along with the city of Bakhmut just northeast, has been the focus of intense fighting for months.

Russian proxy forces claimed last week that they had also captured Blishchiivka, a small village near Bakhmut. During an interview with Rossiya 1 state television when asked about the taking of Soledar, President Putin said, “The dynamic is positive.”

He said everything is going according to the “framework of the plan” by the Ministry of Defense and the Russian General Staff. Putin added that he hoped Russian forces “will please us even more with the results of their combat.”

Last Saturday, a regional governor in Ukraine said Ukrainian forces were fighting to regain control of Soledar. However, the DC-based Institute for the Study of War said it is highly unlikely that Ukrainian forces are still holding positions within the town itself, according to Reuters.

Putin also told Rossiya 1 that the economic situation in Russia is “stable” and its economy is doing “much better than not only what our opponents predicted but also what we forecast.”

He claimed that unemployment in Russia was currently at “a historic low” while inflation is lower than expected and trending “downward.” Under the weight of economic sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s economy contracted last year but far less than the economic collapse many economists predicted.