Military news service Zvezda published a video in which Vladimir Putin and Chief of General Staff General Valery Gerasimov (photo, right)enter an observation booth, sit at a distance from each other and did not dialogue at all while waiting for the arrival of the Minister of Defense, Serghei Șoigu, according to Reuters.
Gerasimov stroked his hair and shuffled papers, and Putin picked up and looked through a pair of binoculars, at one point acknowledging a comment from the general with a short nod.
Putin’s strange body language caught the attention of political and military analysts on social media.
“It is obvious that Putin does not even want to talk to the commander of the Russian armed forces“, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt wrote on Twitter.
Would anyone describe this is a happy and confident trio? Putin obviously doesn’t even want to talk with the commander of the ???????? armed forces. pic.twitter.com/gfgcXfIPwy
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) September 6, 2022
In a separate clip, the atmosphere appeared lighter, with Putin and Shoigu shown exchanging a joke while Gerasimov spoke on the phone.
Valery Gerasimov, skeptical of Vladimir Putin?
Gerasimov has been largely absent from the public landscape during Russia’s 195-day war in Ukraine, prompting speculation about his stance toward Putin and even, at times, about his health.
After capturing about a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, Russia fought to a virtual stalemate while suffering heavy losses in troops and equipment.
By continuing the “Vostok” (East) military exercises, which take place once every four years, Putin appeared to send a signal that the Russian military is capable of business as usual despite the demands of war.
But the Russian Defense Ministry says the drills, which began on September 1, now involve only 50,000 troops, a fraction of the 300,000 who took part in 2018. Western military analysts say they believe both figures are exaggerated.
The maneuvers included forces from both India and China, although it was unclear whether Putin saw troops from those countries in action.
Russian-led military exercises also carried out in the Sea of Japan
On Tuesday, the Defense Ministry released a video from the naval side of the exercise, showing the Russian Pacific Fleet practicing the launch of Kalibr cruise missiles, which it said successfully hit a target more than 300km away.
On Monday, Russian and Chinese warships practiced repelling an enemy air attack using air defense artillery systems.
Last week, warships from the two countries conducted anti-ship, anti-air and anti-submarine defense missions in the Sea of Japan, the ministry said.
Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping declared a “boundless” partnership in February, vowing to work more closely against the West.
Russia, India’s biggest supplier of military equipment, went ahead with the exercise days after the United States said it was concerned that any country was now holding such exercises with Russia.
Moscow says the “Vostok 2022” military exercises also involve military contingents and observers from Algeria, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Syria and six former Soviet republics.
Tags: Russia, Ukraine, war, Vladimir Putin, Vostok,
Publication date: 06-09-2022 17:37