Russian President Vladimir Putin is scrambling to marshal his forces amid reports that Ukrainian troops are close to the Russian border.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that the Russian leader is in constant contact with top officials within the military and the defense department.
“The President is in constant, one might say round-the-clock, communication with the minister of defense and with all the military leaders,” Peskov said. He was responding to a question from reporters about how Putin has reacted to news that Russian commanders are withdrawing and regrouping troops from the Kharkiv region amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
“And of course it cannot be otherwise in the course of the special military operation,” Peskov said.
Peskov appeared to be referring to remarks by Vitaly Ganchev, a Russia-installed head of the military-civilian administration of the Kharkiv region, who told the Rossiya 24 TV channel Monday that Russian troops are severely outnumbered. Ganchev said Russian troops in the Kharkiv region were pulled out to preserve personnel, as Ukraine’s armed forces outnumber them “by about eight times, no less.”
The latest developments also come as a video of a Ukrainian soldier bragging about how close Ukrainian forces are to the Russian border has gone viral on social media.
One of the first Ukrainian soldiers to reach the border with Russia in the northern part of the Kharkiv region records a video of the historic moment.
The Russians are nowhere to be seen.
How far into the country have they retreated? pic.twitter.com/BzdWL5A5cI
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) September 11, 2022
The clip, posted on Visegrád 24, is captioned: “One of the first Ukrainian soldiers to reach the border with Russia in the northern part of the Kharkiv region records a video of the historic moment. The Russians are nowhere to be seen. How far into the country have they retreated?”
The soldier continues: “There’s the sign marking the border with the Russians and there [behind me] a Ukrainian flag,” according to a translation by Newsweek, which has not been able to confirm the authenticity of the footage.
Photo: “14/11/2019 Sessão Plenária da XI Cúpula de Líderes do BRICS” by Palácio do Planalto is licensed under CC BY