President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko held talks in St. Petersburg on Sunday. Among the more notable points made by both leaders included the assertion that Russian forces had taken out a record number of Western-supplied armored vehicles over a 24 hour period.
Putin was speaking presumably of the Saturday into Sunday timeframe which immediately preceded the talks with Lukashenko. According to a Russian media summary of the remarks, "Lukashenko, citing his own data, said that Moscow’s forces had taken out at least 15 German-made Leopard tanks and over 20 US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles in just one clash."
Putin was in agreement with the statements, but without specifying numbers backed the comments by saying "apparently, [we] have never destroyed so much in one day" while underscoring that Ukrainian forces are "fully equipped with foreign hardware."
In pointing out how "fully equipped" Ukrainian forces are, Putin's suggestion was that the amounts of foreign equipment destroyed will continue to grow.
President Putin also took the opportunity to declare Kiev's counteroffensive as a "failure" - even with strong Western support. He emphasized enemy forces had failed to take back any significant territory:
“Today it’s clear that the Kyiv regime’s Western curators are disappointed with the results of the so-called counteroffensive,” Putin said at a meeting of Russia’s Security Council.
“There are no results, at least not yet,” he told senior government and security officials.
Putin said the diminishing number of Western tanks, artillery, armored vehicles and missiles supplied to Ukraine, as well as “thousands of foreign mercenaries and advisers,” have not helped Kyiv achieve military objectives.
He also said that tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops had been killed since the start of the much-anticipated counteroffensive.
This morning, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that within the Zaporozhye area, 7 Leopards and 10 Bradleys were destroyed by the Russian Armed Forces— DD Geopolitics (@DD_Geopolitics) July 23, 2023
Footage of some of the destruction was posted by Readovka News. pic.twitter.com/Dp7mx7gkJe
The Russian leader cited over 26,000 casualties on the Ukrainian side since the offensive's beginning, but didn't cite anything official in terms of sources or evidence for this huge number (given that it's been about two month's since the offensive began).
Belarus' Lukashenko at one point made an interesting and apparently sarcastic remark, saying that Wagner fighters currently in his country want to "visit" Poland:
According to Lukashenko, the fighters hosted in the country are starting to “concern” local authorities, as they want to “go on tour to Poland” to visit Warsaw and Rzeszow, which they believe was a hub for providing Ukrainian troops with military hardware during the fighting for the key Donbass city of Artyomovsk (also known as Bakhmut).
“They know where the military hardware [to support Ukrainian troops] came from during the fighting in Artyomovsk,” the Belarusian president explained on Sunday during his meeting with Putin. “So they have this internal feeling that Rzeszow is trouble.”
Ukrainians driving past a cluster of destroyed Ukrainian vehicles (3 Bradleys and a Soviet tank) near Rabotino.— What the media hides. (@narrative_hole) July 21, 2023
Look like previously unseen losses pic.twitter.com/LHA2mE51NQ
Without doubt, Poland and other nearby countries have been very nervous about the presence of thousands of elite Wagner mercenaries inside Belarus, also as Wagner is training national troops there. Poland has lately sent hundreds of elite counter-terror police officers to bolster border protection.