The authorities plan to liberate all the occupied areas “in six or nine months”, including Crimea, although they are “afraid” of the possible reaction of the Kremlin
The Ukrainian offensive to the east and south of the country advances in the face of the ineffectiveness of a Russian Army whose commanders speak of a “strategic withdrawal” in places like Kherson. The same day that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, signed the law that formalizes the annexation of the Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions as parts of the Russian Federation, Volodímir Zelenski reported the liberation of eight new towns in Kherson and the Governor of Lugansk, Sergei Gaidai, announced on Telegram that “now it is official, the unemployment of the Lugansk region has begun.” Putin therefore signed the annexation of areas that are already out of control of his troops, but that his spokesperson, Dmitri Peskov, assured that they will be Russians “forever” and that they will be “recovered.”
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 every time there are changes. Odesa is only 150 kilometers from the front and from the beginning it has been one of Putin’s objects of desire, but his troops have not been able to reach it and the threat seems more and more distant.
In the streets there is optimism after seven months of war, but with great caution because “at this rate we can liberate all the occupied areas, including Crimea, in six or nine months, but we are afraid of the day after. Putin is very capable of reacting to this defeat by using the nuclear weapon,” explains 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.” In his opinion, the key to this offensive is that “we have been punishing the Russians for months, day after day and without rest. We don’t stop receiving aid and their supply fails, it was a matter of time before they began to lose ground».
176 war crimes
The situation in the streets is apparently normal, but the port and almost the entire coastal area are closed by the military due to security reasons. The mythical Potemkin staircase, which connects the old town with the port 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 has bought from Iran and that it also uses in other parts of the country.
Putin swore that he would use all the means at his disposal to defend the annexed areas and that phrase has been etched in the minds of some Ukrainians who have not experienced a similar euphoric situation since the Russian withdrawal from the kyiv front. The release of land also brings with it the opening of investigations and the Ukrainians have already filed 176 complaints for war crimes against Russian soldiers, as confirmed by the country’s attorney general, Andri Kostin.
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