In the course of its counteroffensive, Ukraine has been recording further gains in the east and south of the country. In the Luhansk region, Ukrainian soldiers have already positioned themselves near the city of Lisysansk, a military spokesman for the pro-Russian Luhansk separatists writes on the Telegram news service. However, Ukrainian units are under constant fire from the Russian army.
In the wake of the Ukrainian offensive, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to people in the occupied territories. “Russian propagandists are threatening people in the territories still controlled by the occupiers, saying that Ukraine will consider anyone staying in the occupied territories as collaborators. Absolutely crazy stuff,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Monday. Anyone who does not offer their services to the Russians should not be afraid, he said.
The 44-year-old insisted there was only isolated support for the Russian occupiers, although “hundreds of thousands” were temporarily under occupation authority. In doing so, he contradicted the Russian narrative that the majority of the population in the four occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhia loved Russia. With this rationale, Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin rigged referendums to annex the regions.
Kiev rejected Musk’s call for regional disengagement
At the same time, Ukraine’s leadership clashed with Musk. It offered a solution to the end of the Russian-Ukrainian war on Twitter. Accordingly, new referendums must be held in all four regions annexed by the Kremlin under the supervision of the United Nations. People should leave Russia territories if they want. Ukraine remains neutral. The Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014, is set to be annexed by Moscow. As opposed to nuclear war, the scenario is “very likely”.
The first to respond was adviser to the President’s Office, Mykhailo Podliak: “There is a great proposal,” he wrote on Twitter. Accordingly, Ukraine will fully liberate its territory, including “annexed Crimea”. Then Russia would be completely demilitarized, have to give up its nuclear weapons and “no longer threaten anyone”. Russian war crimes will be brought before the International Court of Justice. Later, Musk more or less accused Zelensky and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba of supporting Russia.
Russian leadership under pressure
Meanwhile, the leadership in Moscow has its own problems. There is a shortage of personnel at the front, which has led to painful defeats in recent weeks, and partial mobilization is associated with considerable difficulties, not only according to the British secret services. Several hundred thousand Russians fled abroad before being forced into exile. Mobilization exposes deficiencies in the system. For example, half of the “several thousand” conscripts from the Khabarovsk region in the Russian Far East have now returned. So they were confiscated even if they did not fulfill the conditions.
Massive clash between soldiers at a military base near Moscow
Against this background, according to media reports, a major fight broke out between newly formed and long-serving regular soldiers at a military base near Moscow. “The newcomers were not welcomed there with bread and salt – on the contrary: the soldiers serving there demanded their clothes and mobile phones from the newcomers,” the Internet portal Baza reported on Monday. The conflict escalated into a mass fight – in which the new recruits gained the upper hand.
The clash highlights the tensions created by the partial demobilization ordered by Putin nearly two weeks ago. Media reported that the march was chaotic at many places. For example, men are invited despite previous illnesses or lack of qualifications or are dropped in the open without a coach after being invited. In many places there is said to be shortage of equipment and food. According to lawyer Pavel Chiko, six of the conscripts died during training.
What’s important on Tuesday
In Ukraine’s south, Kiev troops want to advance across the Dnipro River to advance on the city of Cherson. In the north-east of the country, the transport hub of Svadov, still under Russian control, is being targeted.
Meanwhile, it is still unclear when International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Croce will visit Kyiv and Moscow. Grosi had announced that he would travel to both capitals later in the week to discuss the issue of nuclear safety – specifically the risks associated with the contested Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.
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