Ukraine: Russian soldiers leave behind bizarre mural in Kupiansk
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Ukrainian forces have a decisive upper hand on the war operations in their massive counter-attack against Russian troops, a former commander of US forces in Europe said. The momentum Ukrainian troops started in August will continue building up into winter and will ultimately lead Ukrainian troops to retake the whole country – even the Crimean peninsula, the former commander said.
When asked about the juncture of the conflict, former commander Ben Hodges told DW News: “So, I believe the Ukrainians have achieved irreversible momentum.
“It’s too early to plan on a victory parade but they clearly have irreversible momentum.
“And in my view, defeat of Russia – Ukrainian victory – which means total restoration of all its sovereign territory, including Crimea, is inevitable.”
Mr Hodges, however, said Ukraine’s victory on the battelfield depends on Western support in the long run.
He said: “How fast that happens depends on whether or not we can continue to deliver everything we promised and if we keep the sanctions in place.
“I believe that Ukraine will continue to fight through the winter.
“They will not stop just because the weather begins to turn bad because they want to keep the pressure on Russian forces.”
“Don’t allow them to stop, turn around and regroup and prepare stronger defences,” Mr Hodges said.
“So, I anticipatethis will continue through the winter time.
“They’ve achieved what I would say is irreversible momentum.”
Ukrainian forces have mounted a succesful counteroffensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region, retaking the totality of the Russian-controlled land.
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Now, Ukrainian troops are focusing their effort on the eastern Donbas region and its two provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk.
Vladimir Putin declared them as independent in the days leading up to the war to justify his full-blown invasion.
The two Russian-occupied provinces have said they are now ready to hold referendums on joining the Russian Federation.
Ukrainian President’s office spokesperson told the Ukrainian publication Liga.net that any referendums would destroy any remaining hopes for peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow.
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