Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Rostov-on-Don headquarters, which oversees military operations in Ukraine, included a briefing and inspection of new military equipment, accompanied by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. The visit comes after a failed Ukrainian counteroffensive which has been ongoing since June and has failed to achieve significant progress.
The visit to Rostov Region comes at a time when it has often been attacked by Ukrainian missiles and drones. The purpose of Putin’s visit was to be briefed on the military operation against Kiev by the top defense officials. The Southern Military District, which is responsible for the military operation in Ukraine, covers Rostov-on-Don.
The failed Ukrainian counteroffensive, which has been ongoing since June, has been a source of concern. Even the Ukrainian commander-in-chief, Valery Zaluzhny, has admitted that they are unlikely to achieve a swift breakthrough. The failure of the counteroffensive has resulted in heavy personnel and material losses for Ukraine, with estimates of over 90,000 troops lost. Additionally, hundreds of military hardware pieces, including vehicles supplied by Western powers, have been damaged or destroyed.
Russia’s military campaign against Kiev is a critical part of Putin’s strategic approach to the conflict in Ukraine. The visit to the military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don demonstrates the importance of this military operation to Putin and his leadership team.
The visit also comes at a time when Putin has suggested that Western powers are changing their approach to the conflict. He stated that they were “changing their tune now [and] saying different things,” compared to their previous insistence on inflicting a military defeat on Russia. This indicates a shift in the diplomatic and military dynamics of the conflict, which Putin is likely seeking to be briefed on and assess.
The Rostov Region, where the headquarters is located, borders Russia’s frontline Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, making it a strategic location for the military operation against Kiev’s forces. The fact that Putin has visited the headquarters multiple times, including his most recent visit in September, underscores the significance of the military campaign to his administration.
In conclusion, Putin’s visit to the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District is a clear indication of the importance he places on the military campaign against Kiev. The briefing and inspection of new military equipment, accompanied by high-ranking defense officials, demonstrates the strategic significance of the operation in Ukraine. As the conflict in Ukraine continues, Putin’s engagement with the military leadership and regular visits to the headquarters are likely to continue, reflecting his commitment to and close involvement in the military campaign.