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Voice of America: Putin faces the most dangerous moment, Russian forces withdraw in Ukraine

Voice of America: Putin faces the most dangerous moment, Russian forces withdraw

Over the past few days, Ukraine has regained control of large areas in the east and south of the country from Russian occupation forces. As VOA correspondent Henry Ridgwell reports, as the Kremlin pulls back, the war may be entering a vital new phase.

Ukrainian forces have broken through the line of Russian forces in the southern Kherson region and liberated several villages. Ukrainian forces have already taken control of a territory up to 30 kilometers inside the former front line.

"The morale of the boys, everything has changed, compared to what it was before - it has improved a lot. There is light at the end of the tunnel, inspired by victories", says Yaroslav, Ukrainian soldier.

Ukrainian forces are consolidating territorial advances in the east as well. Lyman City is devastated; the streets are littered with burnt Russian tanks and dead soldiers.

Ukrainian generals say they have advanced over the past two weeks 55 kilometers closer to Kharkiv.

"We have had reports that the units in the northern Kherson region are completely undermanned, understaffed and stretched along a very long front line and lacking soldiers to hold it," says Karolina Hird, from the Institute for the Study of War.

The United States this week announced $625 million in new aid to Kiev.

"Ukraine needs weapons, more weapons. This is because the Russian people tolerate war criminals, but they do not tolerate war criminals who are losers. This military defeat in Ukraine offers the first signs of the decline of Putin's reputation in Russia," says Oleksandra Matviichuk, from the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week the annexation of four regions of Ukraine - a move rejected by much of the international community. Analysts say the war is entering a critical moment.

“Është shndërruar në një moment jetik për Putinin. Aftësia e tij për të mbijetuar mbështetet deri diku tek deklaratat e tij se ka mbrojtur atdheun dhe e ka zgjeruar atë. Se ku do të shkojë kjo situatë askush nuk e di. Por mund të themi se ky është ndoshta momenti më i rrezikshëm për zotin Putin, që kur mori pushtetin rreth 20 vite më parë”, thotë Charles Kupchan, nga Këshilli i Marrëdhënieve me Jashtë.

Presidenti Putin ka thënë se do të përdorë të gjitha mjetet e nevojshme për të mbrojtur Rusinë, duke shtuar frikën se mund të vërë në përdorim të ashtuquajturat armë taktike bërthamore.

“Gjërat po shkojnë shumë keq për Rusinë. Nuk e di edhe sa më keq duhet të bëhet përpara se Rusia të marrë në konsideratë shumë seriozisht përdorimin e armëve bërthamore. Nuk jam i sigurtë edhe nëse Putini e kupton se sa keq do të bëhet për të, nëse përdor armët bërthamore”, thotë James Acton, nga Fondacioni Carnegie për Paqen Ndërkombëtare.

Për momentin, Rusia po përpiqet ta rimarrë avantazhin nëpërmjet forcave konvencionale. Ministria e mbrojtjes tha këtë javë se mbi 200 mijë meshkuj janë rekrutuar tashmë në forcat e armatosura që nga shpallja dy javë më parë e mobilizimit të pjesshëm.

“Këto forca nuk ka gjasa të ofrojnë ndonjë kapacitet të shtuar mbrojtës, apo sulmues, në periudhën afatshkurtër. Dhe në periudhën afatgjatë, këto forca nuk ka gjasa të stërviten mirë apo të motivohen”, thotë Karolina Hird, nga Instituti për Studimin e Luftës.

Russian forces continue to bombard Ukrainian-held territory with artillery and rockets – often in civilian areas. A convoy of civilians in the city of Zaporizhzhia was hit on September 30. Dozens of people were killed - among them many women and children. Moscow did not comment on this attack./VOA