Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that more powerful and advanced weapons could hasten victory for his troops fighting in Ukraine.

The Kremlin leader also hailed recent advances on the battlefield, saying Russia’s army was advancing on all fronts, as he urged Moscow to intensify and modernize its arms production at home.

“We have said many times that whoever is quicker to master the newest means of armed combat wins. We have to be one step ahead,” Putin told Russia’s military leaders, including new Defense Minister Andrei Belousov, in a televised meeting.

“We have everything we need for this, and much has been done, but we need to double and triple our efforts in this area,” he added.

Putin was holding his first public meeting with Belousov, an economist and long-term Kremlin adviser, since he replaced Sergei Shoigu in a surprise shake-up to Russia’s military leadership.

The talks also included Shoigu — in his new role as Security Council chief — army generals, and other government officials responsible for arms production and industry.

Putin has increasingly talked up the importance of outproducing Ukraine, seeing Moscow’s path to victory through its booming domestic weapons industry.

“We need, without any exaggeration, to do even more. Although a lot has been done, even more needs to be done in the defense production sector,” Putin said.

More advanced weapons would not only bring victory closer, Putin said, but also reduce Russian casualties.

“The more effective the means of destruction, the more accurate they are, the more powerful they are, the fewer losses we have. This is a key issue in armed combat,” he said.

Moscow’s troops launched a major ground assault on Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region last week, seeking to stretch the front line to press its advantage in manpower and ammunition.

“Starting from this year, in all directions our troops are constantly, every day, improving their positions,” Putin said.

With AFP