Russian Defence Minister Signals Prolonged Military Engagement in Ukraine until 2025

Understanding the Statement Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, recently announced that the military campaign in Ukraine is expected to persist until 2025. This revelation is seen by many, including Oleksandr Musiienko from the Centre of Military Law Researches, as an indirect admission by Russia that they aren’t succeeding in their goals as swiftly as anticipated.

Details from the Meeting A video surfaced in the Russian media where a gathering of the nation’s generals had Shoigu highlighting the ongoing strategy against Ukraine. “By strengthening our combat prowess, integrating advanced weaponry, and evolving our troops’ training based on our ‘special military operation’s’ learnings, we aim to consistently realize our plans till 2025,” the Minister articulated. Although Shoigu remained vague about the specific “objectives” Russia intends to meet, past statements from Russian officials have pointed towards the “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine.

Is Russia Admitting a Setback? Military analyst, Oleksandr Musiienko, interprets Shoigu’s words as a subtle acknowledgment by Russia of their challenges in clinching a victory. Musiienko also speculates that the Russian leadership has an eye on upcoming U.S. elections, hoping that a leadership shift could swing the geopolitical balance in their favor. “With the forthcoming U.S. elections, there’s anticipation in Russia that a change in the U.S. administration, perhaps with leaders like Donald Trump, might encourage Ukraine towards dialogue and possibly scale down military assistance. Russia is gearing up for an extended conflict, as long as their resources allow,” Musiienko elaborated.

Messaging to the Russian Public Musiienko further points out that such proclamations from Shoigu are also tailored for the domestic audience, laying the groundwork for the Russian populace to brace for extended military engagement. Moscow’s realization that immediate, decisive victories are elusive underscores their commitment to the long game. “This narrative, that the conflict will be protracted, is being communicated clearly to Russians. Disengaging now could be perceived as a defeat for Putin, which might carry heavier repercussions than rallying his people for an extended conflict,” the expert added.

The Ukraine’s Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security perceives Shoigu’s remarks as primarily a tactic to stabilize and placate an increasingly restless Russian society. “The Kremlin seems to be offering its citizens a mirage of a 2025 deadline, reminiscent of past unfulfilled claims of conquering Kyiv swiftly or securing victory by specific dates,” the agency opined.

The agency also emphasized the glaring fact that the previously set “objectives” associated with this “special military operation” remain unaccomplished, hinting at a clear misjudgment on Putin’s part, which is steering the nation towards an imminent setback.

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