Zelensky’s cabinet confirms it will be able to liberate occupied territories, including Crimea, within six or nine months, though it looks with “fear” at the Kremlin’s possible response
The Ukrainian offensive in the east and south of the country is progressing despite the ineffectiveness of a Russian army whose commanders speak of a “strategic withdrawal” in places like Kherson. On the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law formalizing the annexation of the Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions as part of the Russian Federation, Volodímir Zelensky announced the liberation of eight new towns in Kherson and the governor of Lugansk, Sergei Gaidai, announced on Telegram that “now it is official, unemployment in the Lugansk region has started.” Putin therefore signed the annexation of areas already beyond the control of his troops, but that his spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, assured that they will be Russians “forever” and that they will be “reclaimed”.
In cities like Odessa, citizens live glued to their mobile phones, where the news channels on the Telegram network update the maps of the situation whenever there are changes. Odessa is only 150 kilometers from the front and has been one of Putin’s objects of desire from the start, but his forces have been unable to reach it and the threat seems increasingly distant.
On the streets there is optimism after seven months of war, but with great caution, because “at this rate, we can liberate all occupied territories, including Crimea, in six or nine months, but we are afraid of the day after. Putin is quite capable of responding to this defeat by using the nuclear weapon,” explained Petr Obuhov, a 38-year-old mathematician turned politician who heads the European Solidarity Party, led by Petro Poroshenko, in the coastal city.
Obuhov has “mixed feelings because we see victory close, but Putin can do anything.” According to him, the key to this offensive is that “we have punished the Russians for months, day after day and without rest. We don’t stop receiving aid and their supplies fail, it was only a matter of time before they started to lose ground».
The situation on the street is apparently normal, but the port and almost the entire coastal area have been closed by the military for security reasons. The mythical Potemkin staircase, which connects the old town to the harbor and which Sergei Eisenstein immortalized in ‘Battleship Potemkin’, is armored by the security forces and in recent days the city has been hit by suicide drone attacks ‘Shahed-136’, a model that Moscow bought from Iran and that it uses in other parts of the country as well.
Putin vowed to use all available means to defend the annexed territories, and that phrase is engraved in the minds of some Ukrainians who have not experienced a similar euphoric situation since Russia’s withdrawal from the Kiev front. The release of land also brings with it the opening of investigations and Ukrainians have already filed 176 complaints for war crimes against Russian soldiers, as confirmed by the country’s Attorney General Andri Kostin.
Source: La Verdad