President Vladimir Putin traveled to the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District near the border with Ukraine, following his return from talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing.
(Bloomberg) — President Vladimir Putin traveled to the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District near the border with Ukraine, following his return from talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing.
Putin was briefed about the situation in Ukraine by Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov at the headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, Interfax reported early Friday, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Russian forces “are resolving tasks in line with the plan of operation,” Gerasimov told Putin, according to video of the meeting broadcast on state television. The Kremlin and Russia’s Defense Ministry didn’t give further details.
Putin met the top army commander after reports that Ukrainian forces had crossed the Dnipro River in the southern Kherson region and advanced into Russian-occupied territory. The Institute for the Study of War reported the crossing Thursday, citing geo-located footage, and cited reports by Russian military bloggers that Ukrainian troops had temporarily regained some Russian-held settlements. The Defense Ministry in Moscow said Russian forces thwarted “sabotage and reconnaissance” activity in the area.
Putin last traveled to Rostov-on-Don in August, following the mutiny in June by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led his Wagner mercenaries from the city to within 200 kilometers (124 miles) of Moscow in an attempt to oust Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu over alleged failings in the war.
Putin in Beijing told reporters he’d discussed Russia’s war in Ukraine with Xi in detail during bilateral talks on the sidelines of China’s Belt and Road Initiative forum. He also announced he’d ordered MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles to begin round-the-clock patrols over the Black Sea.
He traveled to Rostov-on-Don after a brief visit to the Perm region where Putin met officials to discuss sports development in Russia.
(Updates with Gerasimov comment in third paragraph)
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