on the eve of the second anniversary of the Russian operation in Ukraine: Putin praises the “heroes” fighting in Ukraine

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The Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday praised the heroes fighting in Ukraine and the rearmament of the Russian army, on the occasion of the celebration of Russian Armed Forces Day, on the eve of the second anniversary of the start of the war on Ukraine.

The United States is expected to announce details of new sanctions on Moscow on Friday, even though the retaliatory measures it has adopted over the past two years haven’t succeeded in stopping the Russian war.

These sanctions target more than 500 entities linked to “sources of support” and the Russian “war machine,” a US Treasury Department spokeswoman said on Thursday.

On February 23 of each year, Russia celebrates Defenders of the Fatherland Day.

This year’s celebration comes at a time when the Russian army has achieved several victories in Ukraine, and while the Ukrainian army is facing a “very difficult” situation on the front, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Ukrainians were forced to withdraw from the city of Avdiivka, last week, in the face of Russian attacks.

In this context, Zelensky urged Congress to approve the aid in an interview broadcast Thursday on Fox News, which is close to the conservatives who are obstructing the approval of a $60 billion military aid package.

On Friday, Vladimir Putin praised the participants of the special operation in Ukraine, who are fighting for truth and justice… by defending Russia.

“You’re the true heroes of our people,” he said.

As is the case every year, the Russian President visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the walls of the Kremlin.

Several times in recent days, he expressed his satisfaction with the situation, decorating soldiers with medals and riding in a strategic bomber.

Putin directed a large portion of the Russian economy toward the war effort, by increasing the production of military equipment and recruiting hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

“In recent years, companies in the military-industrial complex have increased the production of weapons and their delivery to the forces,” he said Friday.

He also praised the delivery of missiles, drones, armored vehicles, artillery and air defense systems.

“Based on our current combat experience, we will continue to strengthen the armed forces,” he said.

Three weeks before the presidential elections scheduled to be held on March 15, 16, and 17, the second anniversary of the Russian attack on Ukraine is approaching at a time when Putin is in a much better position, after the year 2022 witnessed the failure of the attack on Kiev and humiliating setbacks.

Taking control of the city of Avdiivka, located in the eastern part of Ukraine, after it faced several Russian attacks since October, was an opportunity for him to present himself as a victor.

On Thursday, the Russian army announced new gains in the east, as it seized the village of Pobeda and made advances around neighboring towns.

This was accompanied by the continuation of attacks on Kiev, as the General Staff announced, in its daily report published on Friday morning, night attacks by Russian drones and missiles on the country, explaining that the Ukrainian air defense system shot down 23 drones.

Although Russia suffered very heavy losses with about 120,000 deaths according to US sources, it was able to recruit nearly half a million soldiers in 2023 and about 53,000 more in January 2023, according to official figures.

On the other hand, problems are accumulating for Ukraine, whose army was severely damaged by its counterattack in the summer of 2023, and has become unable to replenish its ranks.

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