Ukrainian servicemen load an artillery unit before firing at Russian positions in east Ukraine


  • Kremlin spokesperson Peskov said the war between Russia and Ukraine will likely 'get much harder'
  • Peskov made the comment during an end-of-year celebrations last December
  • Putin recently said Russia's invasion of Ukraine is necessary for Moscow's survival

A senior Kremlin official said the war between Russia and Ukraine would likely last a long time as the conflict extends into its 14th month.

Dmitry Peskov, a longtime spokesperson for the Kremlin, made the comment during the end-of-year celebrations in late December, as reported by The Guardian on Tuesday, citing sources who were present at the gathering.

"I am guessing you are expecting me to say something. Things will get much harder. This will take a very, very long time," he said, one of the sources recounted to the outlet.

Peskov's comment came after Putin visited an aviation factory in the Buryatia region earlier this month. During the visit, the Russian leader gave a speech where he claimed Russia's invasion of Ukraine is critical to ensuring Moscow's survival in the future.

"For us, this is not a geopolitical task, but a task of the survival of Russian statehood, creating conditions for the future development of the country and our children," Putin said.

Maxim Trudolyubov, a political analyst, said their speeches follow a recent pattern that seems to suggest preparing for a "forever war" with the West, which imposed a series of crippling economic sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

"Putin has practically stopped talking about any concrete aims of the war. He proposes no vision of what a future victory might look like either. The war has no clear-cut beginning nor a foreseeable end," Trudolyubov added.

Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, Moscow has lost a total of 171,730 military personnel in combat, including 570 soldiers killed over the past day. Russia has also lost more than 3,600 tanks and 6,900 combat armored machines in the conflict, per estimates from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

Russia is currently struggling to make any headway in the Avdiivka and Bakhmut directions in the industrial Donetsk region. It has suffered high combat deaths and equipment losses in the fighting, as per Reuters. The battle for control of both towns began last year and escalated in recent months.

Russia's losses may continue to increase, especially after Ukraine on Tuesday received Challenger and Leopard tanks from Britain and Germany. The tanks arrived in time for a counteroffensive that experts believe Ukraine will launch in the spring.

A satellite image shows smoke from recently dropped ordnance, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in southern Bakhmut