Putin: Russia may be fighting in Ukraine for ‘long’ time

STORY: Amid significant retreats on the battlefield, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday publicly acknowledged that his army could be fighting in Ukraine for a long time.

In a televised meeting with his Human Rights Council, Putin said achieving results from what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine can be ‘a long process’.

But Putin said he saw no reason to mobilize additional soldiers... at least not yet.

“In these conditions, the talk about some additional mobilization efforts make no sense. There is no need for this for the state and for the Defense Ministry.”

300,000 reservists were called up in September and October in the country’s first mobilization since World War Two, causing deep dismay and chaos in Russian society.

Putin also used Wednesday’s televised event to warn the West that Russia would defend itself with all means at its disposal.

The risk of nuclear war is growing, Putin said… adding that Russia saw its arsenal as a means to retaliate, not to strike first.

"We haven't gone mad, we understand what nuclear weapons are. We have these means and they are more advanced and modern that in any other nuclear country, this is obvious today, it's a fact. But we are not going to swing it like a razor running around the world, but, of course, we proceed from the fact that we have got it."

Putin has rarely discussed the longevity of the war, although he boasted in July that Russia was just getting started.

For Ukrainians - after nearly 10 months of war - Fears are mounting as winter sets in and air strikes escalate.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko on Wednesday warned of an apocalyptic scenario if Russia continues targeting critical infrastructure.

“Kyiv might lose power, water, and heat supply. The apocalypse might happen, like in scary Hollywood films, when it's not possible to live in homes considering the low temperature. But we are fighting and doing everything we can to make sure that this does not happen. We are fighting! We are not giving up!”

Ukraine’s capital city lacks enough heated shelters to take in all 3.6 million residents in the event of complete outages. And the mayor said people should be ready to evacuate if the situation worsens.

One Kyiv resident told Reuters, people here pray to live in their homes and pray for victory to come as soon as possible.