Putin tells Russian defense industry to up its game

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STORY: Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his country’s weapons producers to step up their game.

As he toured the Tula weapons plant on Friday – he said, not only does Russia’s military-industrial complex need to make sure troops on the frontline in Ukraine get what they need, at the shortest possible timeframes but the performance of those weapons, have to be upgraded based on combat experience on the ground.

Russia’s defense minister also said on Friday the state would ramp up orders of weapons from Kalashnikov, starting next year.

Russian troops, meanwhile, were shown taking part in tactical drills with Belarus.

As what Putin called “a special military operation” in Ukraine neared the 11th month, Putin said the Russian army needs to learn from its problems in Ukraine, and conceded his mobilization campaign did not go as planned.

He pledged “no limits” on spending now to help his army win the war.

US officials say Russia has lost or abandoned significant amounts of military equipment, suffered tens of thousands of deaths, while ceding half the territory it initially seized.

However the Kremlin’s mouthpiece offered a different assessment on Friday. At a news briefing, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had made “significant progress” towards “demilitarizing” Ukraine, one of the goals put forth by Putin when he announced his invasion in February.

While the Russian President has for months described the invasion as a “special military operation” – his critics now accuse him of breaking his own “fake news” law of calling the war by its name.

A St Petersburg politician called Nikita Yuferev caught on to Putin using the word “war” on Thursday in a press briefing and filed a legal challenge to hold Putin “responsible for spreading fake news about the actions of the Russian army”.

Others who’ve publicly called the war a war in Russia faced harsh punishment of years in jail.

Speaking to Reuters, Yuferev said he knew his legal challenge would go nowhere, but felt it was important to draw attention to the “contradiction and injustice of laws that Putin adopts and signs, but which he himself doesn’t observe”.