Putin blow as Russian flee draft in huge traffic jam at Georgia border
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Volodymyr Zelensky is “putting pressure” on Russia in “essential” regions as key bridgeheads are “secured”. Moscow is making efforts to consolidate the gains it has made in its “special military operation” in Ukraine since February after suffering what is widely understood to have been a humiliating month on the battlefield.
Vladimir Putin this week ordered the immediate mobilisation of 300,000 troops in Ukraine to support this aim.
But these reservists will take some time to get to the battlefield, and Ukraine is reportedly working on taking more ground before they arrive.
Western intelligence officials have observed that, in order to weaken Russia’s position, Zelensky’s troops have secured a number locationally significant bridgeheads.
In its latest update on the war in Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defence noted that this was “putting pressure” on Putin’s forces.
It said: “In the last three days, Ukrainian forces have secured bridgeheads on the east bank of the Oskil River in Kharkiv Oblast.
“Russia has attempted to integrate the Oskil into a consolidated defensive line following its forces’ withdrawals earlier in the month.
“To the south, in Donetsk Oblast, fighting is ongoing as Ukrainian forces assault the town of Lyman, east of the Siverskyy Donets River, which Russia captured in May.”
The report concluded that while Ukraine is working to stamp out Moscow’s progress in yet more regions, the overall picture remains “complex”.
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Intelligence officials wrote: “The battlefield situation remains complex, but Ukraine is now putting pressure on territory Russia considers essential to its war aims.”
At the same time, the Kremlin is hoping to demonstrate support for its actions in its current controlled areas in Ukraine.
Voting began today in a referendum, held in a Russian-controlled part of Ukraine, which Moscow is expected to use to justify annexing four regions.
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Vladimir Rogov, an official in a Russian-backed administration, said: “Voting has started in the referendum on Zaporizhzhia region becoming a part of Russia as a constituent entity of the Russian Federation!
“We are coming home! Godspeed, friends!”
Voting across the four regions is expected to take place from today until Tuesday.
Together, these areas account for 15 percent of Ukrainian land.
Putin’s decision to mobilise 300,000 reservists in Ukraine was branded an admission of failure by the West, with some officials even suggesting this could further weaken his position on the battlefield.
The announcement brought forth Russia’s first mobilisation since the Second World War.
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