Ukraine: Putin is the 'new Hitler’ says Oleksiy Honcharuk
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Ukraine’s military has retaken key territory in the north of the country after Russian forces retreated from Kyiv and Chernihiv, the UK’s Ministry of Defence confirmed in an intelligence update on Tuesday morning. Low-level fighting is expected to continue in the recaptured regions, but will slowly diminish as the Russian retreat continues. Putin’s troops failed to secure the objective of seizing the capital and surrounding areas, and have instead shifted their focus to the south and east of Ukraine, where they have made some significant gains.
However, for the troops retreating, intelligence suggests redeployment will be no easy feat — they will need “significant re-equipping and refurbishment” before being shipped off to eastern Ukraine.
And while Russia will be hoping that its renewed offensive is successful, Jonathan Jackson, a senior teaching fellow in policing and security at Birmingham City University, told Express.co.uk that the ingrained problems within the Russian military are “impossible to solve overnight”.
He said: “The Russian armed forces have lived up to their reputation as being sheep in wolf’s clothing.
“Endemic corruption, poor leadership, a failure to reform, and insecure communication networks have all contributed to their inability to take and hold key positions.
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“These failures of command and control will be impossible to solve overnight, and it is likely that hard truths will now be all the rage behind the doors of the Kremlin.
“Putin will now need to listen to previously side-lined effective advisors, to ensure his army can make the final push and for that he will need time to implement change.”
While Putin has faced criticism from abroad on unprecedented levels, his popularity at home has soared.
Latest polling released last week by independent pollster Levada Centre indicated an enormous 83 percent of Russians supported his actions as President.
This figure is up 12 percent from February polling conducted in the days leading up to the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
The Russian population has very limited access to accurate information about the war in Ukraine as the Kremlin has tightened its grip on the narrative through things like state and social media.
It has also created deterrence for any dissent: referring to Russia’s so-called “military operation” as a “war” or “invasion” is now considered a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
New satellite images and evidence on the ground this week suggested that Putin’s troops have committed war crimes in Ukraine, with horrifying images emerging of civilians strewn on the streets and in shallow graves in the cities of Irpin and Bucha, both just outside Kyiv.
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Corpses lay sprawled by the road side, some with their hands tied behind their backs, and others with bullet wounds to the head.
Moscow denies the war crime accusations, instead claiming that the West is framing them for the deaths of Ukrainian civilians.
The grim discoveries came as Putin shifted his focus to the east of the country after weeks of stalled movement in the north.
First signs of a pivot appeared when clusters of Russian troops situated just north of the southern port city of Mariupol started to “to push north to Donetsk”, according to the BBC.
Mr Jackson told Express.co.uk that this strategy is part of Putin shifting his attention to “easy wins”.
He said: “The Russian army relies upon rail to move its forces around, and this network is much better maintained in the south than in the north.
“It is more likely that Putin has decided to focus on easy wins and consolidate his conquered areas to position himself more favourably in future rounds of diplomacy.”
He added: “Putin has a history of ruthlessness and deceit, and we must assume that any ceasefires or acts of diplomacy are designed to cynically improve his hand in this geopolitical game of poker.
“Preserving the lives of those on the ground will be of no interest and instead any form of diplomacy will be the tool in which to use to stall and redesign a new battle plan.”
Ukrainian reports as of Sunday estimate that Russia has lost more than 18,000 troops since Putin invaded on February 24.
Recent reports suggest Russia is now recruiting a ‘dads army’ amid the mounting death toll.
Former soldiers up to the age of 60 in Chelyabinsk and Tyumen, two Siberian cities, are being urged to rejoin, according to Russian media.
The Kremlin is said to be especially keen to fill positions as tank commanders, snipers and engineers.
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