Make your home page

Russian military to reach 1.5M; Putin vows to win in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in the launch ceremony of The Kovykta gas condensate field via videoconference in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. (Mikhail Kuravlev/Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the fighting in Ukraine as a “tragedy” but vowed to press his campaign there until its goals are reached.

During a meeting with top military brass, Putin on Wednesday again accused the West of provoking the conflict in Ukraine as part of centuries-long efforts to weaken and eventually break up Russia.

Ukraine and its Western allies have rejected such rhetoric.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced at Wednesday’s meeting a plan to increase Russia’s military from 1 million personnel to 1.5 million.

Shoigu also declared plans to form new military units in western Russia to counterbalance plans by Finland and Sweden to join NATO.