When autumn has officially arrived in Russia since September 1 and yesterday it was 200 days since the start of Putin’s attack on Ukraine, the advances of Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops against Russian positions signify a relevant turning point after many months of stalemate on the battlefield. Since the beginning of September, the kyiv authorities have been discreetly talking about a counteroffensive underway or imminent. In recent weeks, the advance of the Ukrainian troops on occupied territory has been effective in the southeast, in the Kherson area, but above all in the province of Kharkov, in the northeast, while on the capital of the same name, a little more than 30 kilometers from the Russian border and the country’s second largest city, Russian missiles and bombs have continued to fall daily. According to kyiv, the land recovered in the last two weeks reaches about 3,000 square kilometers: it is the most powerful counteroffensive undertaken by Ukraine against the Russian occupation since the start of the war on February 24.
But more relevant is the quality of the reconquests. The towns abandoned by the Russian troops – according to Zelensky, more than 30 – have been strategic points for the provisioning of Putin’s Army, such as Kupiansk, a key railway junction, and Izium, another central town for Russian logistics. The withdrawal of his troops has been recognized by the Russian Ministry of Defense but he attributes it to a plan aimed at regrouping troops and redirecting them to a concentrated offensive in Donetsk, further south and in the direction of Mariupol. Control of Donbas, where the two self-proclaimed autonomous republics, Donetsk and Lugansk, remain Russian, but the counteroffensive in Kharkov province exhibits military muscle and a capacity to strike directly linked to the supply of weapons from the United States and the United Kingdom. , by far the main suppliers of Zelensky’s weapons.
The Ukrainian advance paradoxically coincides with Putin’s visit to Russia’s far east, Vladivostok, to attend planned military exercises, albeit with three quarters less than the usual troops. The propaganda rhetoric that Putin displayed the following day, Wednesday, in his various interventions before the VII Eastern Economic Forum, held in Vladivostok itself, has offered the most belligerent and challenging profile of recent times before an addicted audience —number three of China or the head of Myanmar’s coup military junta—without hiding the premeditation with which he launched the war against Ukraine and violated international law. According to Putin, the sanctions and economic and commercial measures against Russia do not harm its economy, but he sent the message that the impoverishment of Western societies due to the rise in energy prices and the consequent rise in inflation will generate a growing division between European citizens and what Putin calls “Western elites.” Saturday’s inauguration of Europe’s largest Ferris wheel in Moscow ratifies Putin’s boasting in Vladivostok but equates badly with military news on the ground. The internal unity of the EU and the harmony between societies and political power is surely the enemy that Putin fears the most in the face of a counteroffensive that could change the course of the war in Ukraine. With the precautions required by the limitations of information, September opens a silver lining on Zelensky’s ability to reverse the military occupation of his territory.
Source: EL PAIS