(Reuters) – Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu inspected command posts of Russian troops in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, his ministry said on Wednesday, during a working visit close to the war’s front lines.
Shoigu, savagely criticised by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin until the latter was killed in a plane crash in August, has been shown several times this month in televised clips designed to project confidence about the state of Russia’s war inside Ukraine.
He told assembled servicemen that their efforts were giving Ukrainian forces “fewer and fewer opportunities”.
Ukraine in June undertook a counteroffensive, capturing villages in the east and south, but at a much slower pace than its rapid advance through the northeast a year ago. Ukraine says Russian forces in recent days have been pounding the eastern city of Avdiivka but have sustained heavy losses.
Video footage published by the ministry showed Shoigu disembarking from a helicopter before engaging in discussions with senior military personnel.
Shoigu was informed of Russian troops’ training improvements with drones, the ministry said. He stressed that commanders should ensure that troops have new winter uniforms and insulated footwear as colder weather sets in.
(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and John Stonestreet)
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