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Putin and Shoigu Use Military Forum to Spin Russia’s Difficulties

Russia’s 9th Army 2023 International Military-Technical Forum opened at the “Patriot Military Park” in the Kubinka suburb of Moscow on Monday, Aug. 14. Unlike in previous years, when President Putin welcomed delegates in person, his welcoming address was delivered by video link from the Kremlin.

Putin said that Russia was “open to deepening” military-technical partnerships and cooperation with those countries “who defend their national interests, their independent path of development and consider it fundamentally important to build together an equal indivisible security system that would reliably protect each state.”


He went on: “We are also pleased that more and more foreign defense companies are joining the forum… This year, their number has grown to 82.” It was reported separately that the foreign attendees included the military powerhouses of Djibouti and Bangladesh as well as an exhibition by the Belarus defense ministry.

Putin addressing the Russian 2023 International Military-Technical Forum. Photo: Telegram

It was left to the Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu to kick off the event in person, with a speech that was shown on state television. He was accompanied during his address by the Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin, which was no doubt intended to show the links between the two states.

Shoigu welcomed delegations of defense departments and industry representatives from many countries.

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As a preventative measure, Kyiv says they’ve beefed up defensive capabilities along Ukraine’s border with Belarus by establishing new lookout stations and fortifications and laying thousands of mines.

“In a difficult international environment, you have found an opportunity to come, thus showing your desire to continue contacts, strengthen and develop mutually beneficial cooperation. This is the best answer to the lovers of sanctions and destructive forces that create tension, wreak havoc and disorder,” Shoigu said.

He noted that some of the weapon systems on display were being used by the Russian Armed Forces in its war against Ukraine. “I would like to emphasize that many of them are already being implemented in the interests of troops, carrying out the tasks within the special military operation. In real conditions, our armament shows its reliability and effectiveness. At the same time, the widely publicized Western-manufactured hardware has in fact turned out to be far from flawless. You can make sure of this by looking at the trophy weapons exposition.”

Shoigu addressing the Russian 2023 International Military-Technical Forum Photo: Wikimedia/TASS

Shoigu claimed that Western sanctions were proving ineffective as “Russian industry has successfully coped with the set tasks, including in the sphere of the state defense order. The Russian defense-industrial complex not only quickly adapted to work in the conditions of severe sanctions pressure, but also boosted its capacities in certain areas.” 

Shoigu ended his speech by echoing Putin’s words that it was hoped the forum would for strengthen military-technical cooperation between countries and establish a dialogue with new partners, and wished all participants of the Forum productive work.

View of 2015 International Military-Technical Forum. Photo: Wikimedia

In comments attributed to Shoigu on Tuesday, Aug. 15, at the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security, which is running alongside the Forum, he claimed that Ukraine’s military resources were “almost exhausted,” as Kyiv unsuccessfully continued with its counteroffensive to recapture lost territory.

It is anticipated that in addition to another video address by Putin and Shoigu in person, the conference will be addressed by the Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh deputy chief of Iran’s general staff.

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