Ukrainian strikes on Russian towns put pressure on Putin

After a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive in the country’s northeast, the chaotic war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin is now being fought right on his doorstep, artillery bombardments have hit military targets in Russia and Russian officials in cities and towns along the border have been ordered to hurry. evacuation.

A new round of strikes on Saturday hit Russia’s western Belgorod region, killing at least one person and wounding two.

Friday, Ukraine It said He hit the base of the Russian 3rd Motorized Rifle Division near Valwicki, just nine miles north of the Russian-Ukrainian border. Russian officials did not acknowledge the bombing of a military target, but said that a civilian had died, and the local electricity network had suffered a temporary outage.

Russia has blamed the attacks on Ukraine, but Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for bombing targets on Russian soil.

Kyiv assured US officials that the donated weapons would not be used to strike targets inside Russia. But Ukrainian forces are now so close to the border that they can hit targets using their less advanced weapons.

That Russian citizens are beginning to seriously feel the impact of the war first-hand is another new source of pressure on Putin, who returned home this weekend from a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan where he faced a notable public reprimand by Indian Prime Minister Narendra. Modi and questions about the war from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In a stunning public rebuke, Modi told Putin that “today’s era is not an era of war, and I spoke to you on the phone about this.” This came after Putin admitted that he had heard “concerns and questions” about the war from the Chinese president.

Torture, murder and kidnapping: Russian withdrawal from Izium exposes atrocities

Ukraine has made amazing progress in the Kharkiv region, in the north-east of the country, in the past two weeks. As it progressed, it revealed hundreds of mass graves and stories of Russian troops terrorizing the population in the liberated city of Izyum.

Ukrainian officials Gains cited and evidence of torture and murder to repeat the pleas of modern battle tanks and other heavy armored vehicles that NATO allies have been slow to dispatch.

Modi scolds Putin over war in Ukraine

Valuki and Krasnyi Khutor are among the dozens of small settlements in Russia that the Russian army uses as a springboard, placing them in the midst of Moscow’s faltering conquest and Kyiv’s escalating counterattack.

The local governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, has ordered the evacuation of hundreds of people and the closure of schools in border towns over the past months. But now the authorities in Belgorod are under increasing pressure from an anxious population who has been suffering from what many Ukrainians have been experiencing for months: nightly explosions, destroyed homes and sometimes casualties.

“I ask again, where is our army, that which should protect us?” Tatiana Pugacheva, a resident of Belgorod, wrote on the VKontakte page of the social network Gladkov. “We are at the border. They are shooting at us, we need an army and protection. Who will wake up the president?”

Exhausted after critical mistakes on the battlefield, Russian forces are scrambling to find working personnel and equipment to maintain their territory in northeastern Ukraine. The recent hasty withdrawal from Izyum and Palaklia combined with fears among local Russians who fear the war’s repatriation seem to have prompted Moscow to reinforce the frontier with young recruits.

It is said that Russian soldiers who were drafted to serve in the 1st Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Taman Division as part of this year’s spring draft were transferred from the Moscow region “to protect state borders”.

The BBC Russian Service, citing families of soldiers, reported that many of the recruits of Taman’s division had died at the beginning of the invasion and that the survivors had been returned to Russian soil. But instead of returning to the headquarters in Naro-Fominsk near Moscow, they were stationed in Valuyki. The BBC said the new batch of recruits is supposed to replace those due to be laid off in October.

According to Russian laws, conscripts cannot be sent into battle unless they have at least four months of training. Putin has repeatedly denied that Russia is using recruits in Ukraine. But the country’s Defense Ministry acknowledged in March that some were mistakenly sent to fight.

Russia’s problems along the border are drawing criticism from powerful pro-Kremlin circles inside Ukraine as well. “I am curious whether the Russian leadership will somehow respond to the constant bombing of Russian territory?” Igor Girkin, the former hardline leader of the separatists in Ukraine, expressed his regret in his Telegram blog. “Or do I understand correctly that the Kremlin no longer considers the Belgorod region a territory of Russia?”

The war also appears to be weakening Russia’s ability to put out fires in the south, in a region the Kremlin has long considered its backyard.

This week, for example, Armenia requested Russia’s help amid a renewed Azerbaijani offensive on its border cities, according to the country’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who formally appealed to the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a regional security alliance of the post-Soviet states. , including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

But the response so far has been slow and tepid, possibly undermining Armenia’s confidence in Moscow as an ally and in the CSTO as a reliable security broker.

The exchange of fire between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh border region

Azerbaijan is not part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization but is backed by Turkey, which is a key mediator in the Ukrainian war. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of committing “provocations” in the border area, which Yerevan denies.

More than 200 officers from both sides were killed this week, in what turned into the bloodiest confrontation since the six-week war over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020.

On Friday, in a face-to-face meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan, Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev said the border conflict had “stabilised” and that a ceasefire had been in effect for the last three days. days.

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that she is planning a weekend visit to Armenia.

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