Ukraine invasion: Vladimir Putin insists Russia’s advance ‘going to plan’ as he praises soldiers as ‘real heroes’ | World News

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted the invasion of Ukraine is “going to plan” – as he praised his soldiers as “real heroes”.

“All objectives that were set are being resolved or achieved successfully,” he said in a televised address, despite Western intelligence suggesting the invasion is behind the Kremlin’s schedule.

He also reiterated his claims Russia is fighting “neo-Nazis”, referring to the war as a “special operation” – something that has been widely refuted by the West as propaganda.

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Oil depot explosion in northern Ukraine

Putin has long maintained that Ukraine’s turn towards the West is a threat to Moscow and has used it as justification for the invasion.

In a speech, the Russian leader announced a posthumous award to a fallen Russian soldier who he says “blew himself up” with a grenade to avoid being captured. He has also promised monetary compensation for the families of dead and wounded servicemen.

Mr Putin said Ukrainians and Russians are “one people” but that Ukrainians have been “threatened and brainwashed”.

He also made a series of comments – for which he did not provide evidence – that Ukrainian forces were holding foreign citizens hostage and using human shields.

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