Putin admits Russia is facing ‘issues’ in the Ukraine war and told his team to make faster decisions

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Vladimir Putin scratching his head.
Russian President Vladimir Putin during the CSTO summit in Moscow on May 16, 2022.

  • Russian President Putin on Tuesday admitted his country faces “issues” from the war in Ukraine.
  • Per an AFP translation of the speech, Putin referred to “economic difficulties” in Russia.
  • Putin also told his team to speed up the decision-making process in the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday admitted his country faces “issues” in the Ukraine war, and told his team to speed up the decision-making process in the conflict.

But his remarks — which were made in Russian, and were televised — appear to have been translated differently by news organizations.

“Now we are faced with the need to more rapidly resolve issues associated with providing support for the special military operation and the need to counter economic restrictions that were imposed on us, which are truly unprecedented without any exaggeration,” Putin told a newly formed Coordination Council, which was set up to improve support for the invasion of Ukraine, according to an official transcript from the Kremlin. 

Putin’s remarks have been translated differently by the AFP and Reuters, both of which have operations in Russia. While the Kremlin wrote that Putin used the phrase “economic restrictions,” the AFP reported that Putin said Russia was facing “economic difficulties” due to sanctions over the war. 

The difference in translations is notable because if Putin did indeed use the words “economic restrictions,” the wording marks a departure from Putin’s usual line of statements that indicate Russia is holding up well under sanctions.

Putin’s comments, which came eight months after the invasion of Ukraine, were seen as acknowledging challenges Russia has been facing on the ground.

They also came days after the Russian central bank issued several reports in October that acknowledged a challenging environment for the country’s economy, even though it had seemed to be propped up by firm energy prices

Putin’s partial mobilization of the country’s 300,000 military reservists in September created new challenges for production processes and output maintenance, according to a Russian central bank report released last week. The exercise is also expected to “negatively affect consumer and business confidence,” the central bank said.

“The recovery of economic activity stalled in September,” the research department of the central bank wrote. By the end of the month, the economic conditions had worsened, it added.

Putin’s address to his coordination council came two days after Russia’s defense minister accused Ukraine of preparing to use radioactive “dirty bombs” — sparking concerns about an escalation in the war.

The US, the UK, and France rejected Russia’s allegation about “dirty bombs” in a joint statement, saying Russia’s “transparently false allegations” were “a pretext for escalation.”

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