Putin promises to expand Russia’s military capabilities in 2023

Despite its disappointments in the Ukrainian theater, the Kremlin continues to show its muscles. Vladimir Putin assures this Wednesday that his country intends to develop its military potential, including the “combat readiness” of its nuclear forces.

Big meeting for 2023

“The armed forces and the combat capabilities of our armed forces are constantly increasing every day. And this process, of course, we will develop it”, boasted Vladimir Putin during a major meeting with his military leaders to set the objectives for the year 2023. “We will continue to maintain and improve the combat readiness of our nuclear triad”he added.

With this in mind, the Russian fleet must be supplied in early January with new Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles according to the Russian president. These next-generation intercontinental missiles, which travel at five times the speed of sound, are very difficult to intercept. The Russian president regularly stresses the potential of these weapons, which he says he deploys in Ukraine and Kaliningrad.

Announced reinforcement of the fleet

“At the beginning of January, the Admiral Gorchkov frigate will be in service with new Zircon missiles, which have no equivalent in the world”, he insisted. While its fleet has suffered heavy damage in the Black Sea, in particular the loss of its flagship in the “Moskva” area, the Ministry of Defense intends to establish new Russian naval bases there in Mariupol and Berdiansk, two ports that it occupies in southern Ukraine.

“The ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol are fully functioning. We plan to deploy bases there for support ships, emergency rescue services and naval repair units of the navy.”said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the face of Vladimir Putin at Wednesday’s meeting, qualifying Ukraine as one of the “priorities” for 2023 where he promises to “continue to carry out the special operation (in Ukraine) until his duties have all been fulfilled”.

“Extremely difficult” situation in the regions annexed by Moscow

For this, Sergei Shoigu says he wants to increase the number of the Russian army to 1.5 million soldiers and raise the age limit for military service, while 300,000 civilians are currently mobilized under the flag, half of whom are in training and the another sent to the Ukrainian front. The master of the Kremlin now admits that the situation is “extremely difficult” in the four regions of southern and eastern Ukraine which Moscow claims to annex without having entirely conquered them.

After a series of setbacks in northeastern and southern Ukraine, Russia is concentrating its forces in the east of the country. Like the bloody battle of Bakhmout that the Russians have been trying to take since the summer with the support of mercenaries from the Wagner group. In ruins, the city, which had around 70,000 inhabitants before the Russian invasion, still seems to be under Ukrainian control, but Russian soldiers have claimed the conquest of villages and areas located on its outskirts.

Faced with the heavy human and material losses suffered by the Russian troops, the Ukrainians say they fear a potential Russian attack from neighboring Belarus, as in the early days of the conflict. Vladimir Putin paid a visit there on Monday where he met his ally leader Alexander Lukashenko.