Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said victory for Russia over Ukraine was “inevitable” as he hailed Russian soldiers’ heroism in a new year’s video message.
Moscow’s defence chief, who has been heavily criticised by pro-war voices in Russia for battlefield failures during the 10-month campaign, said the situation on the frontlines remained “difficult” and lambasted Ukraine and the west for trying to contain Russia.
“We meet the new year in a difficult military-political situation,” Shoigu said, according to Reuters. “At a time when there are those who are trying to erase our glorious history and great achievements, demolish monuments to the victors over fascism, put war criminals on a pedestal, cancel and desecrate everything Russian.”
With bloody fighting ongoing across the 1,000-km (600-mile) frontline, and Russia not having secured any territorial gains since the first months of the war, Shoigu told Russian soldiers: “Victory, like the new year, is inevitable.”