March 25, 2023

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American Institute for the Study of War: Putin may be preparing to fire Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu

Ukraine says it has liberated, in one month, more than 400 square kilometers from the territories occupied by the Russians in the south. If it loses ground on the front, the Russian army shows its power by bombing Ukrainian cities.

Rocket salvos hit residential buildings in the city of Zaporozhye. At least three people have died, but the regional governor says there are more in the rubble. In their retreat, the Russian troops abandon tanks, armored vehicles and guns. So that Russia has become, without its will, the largest supplier of armaments to Ukraine, surpassing deliveries from the West, as an analysis by the American media shows.

Russian rockets hit residential buildings several times in southern Zaporozhye. “The Russian army is losing on the battlefield, so it terrorizes the civilian population. Russia must be punished“, reacted the Ukrainian Minister of Defense.

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The attack comes after Vladimir Putin said he expected “the situation to stabilize” in the southern and eastern Ukrainian regions illegally annexed by Russia. Zaporozhye province is one of them, but the city of Zaporozhye, the regional capital, is under Ukrainian control.

The Ukrainian army attacks on the southern front

On the southern front, the Ukrainian army is attacking in force from several directions. It has made major gains in recent days and has come within a few kilometers of the city of Kherson.

Clare Sebastian, CNN reporter:The changes on the battlefield are so dramatic that even the tightly controlled Russian state media cannot ignore them. A correspondent of the Russian state television announced, on Tuesday, that Russia lost 17 localities in Kherson“.

A senior Russian general, now retired, has called on Moscow’s Defense Ministry to stop lying in its daily updates on the progress of the war.

Andrei Kartapalov, retired general, chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma:First, we should stop lying. People are aware that there is a danger in our territory. And I don’t just mean the recently reclaimed regions. Even a village on the border, in the Belgorod region, was destroyed. But people know how things are, people in this country are not fooled“.

The Russians begin to surrender to the Ukrainians

Officials in Kyiv claim that 2,000 Russian soldiers, or newly mobilized recruits, have called a special telephone line that helps those who want to surrender. It is impossible to know if this is the case. However, there are Russian soldiers who choose to surrender to the Ukrainians. The images show how, in the Kherson region, the entire crew of an armored personnel carrier raised the white flag.

In the city of Lîman, recently liberated, the traces of the war can be seen everywhere.

Woman: I cry, because two of mine are still fighting. I’m crying, but I’m also glad you’re here“.

Colonel Sergiy Cherevaty, spokesman for the Eastern Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine:This was one of the bases of the Russian occupiers and what you see behind it is debris brought in to clear the roads. They moved the vehicles destroyed by our artillery here“.

Local from Lîman: We didn’t leave the house much, we tried not to attract their attention. We didn’t talk to them at all and tried not to stand out. We were not touching anything“.

Putin annexed the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin also annexed the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, signing a decree making the largest nuclear power plant in Europe the property of the Russian Federation. The complex is under the control of Russian troops, but has been operated by Ukrainian personnel until now. According to the BBC, the technicians were threatened that they could be forced to fight on the side of the Russians if they did not sign the documents regarding their transfer to work for the Russian state company Rosatom.

Oleksii, former employee of the Zaporozhye plant:It was very difficult, especially because of the psychological pressure. You would go to work and see the occupants there. Many of the employees of the Zaporozhye NPP and the residents of Enerhodar visited the basements. After that, employee morale was very low. We’re talking about torture, electric shocks“.

Faced with shameful defeats on the fronts in Ukraine, in the south, but also in the east, President Putin would prepare to dismiss the Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, according to the American Institute for the Study of War, which also claims that the Russian leader would seek the support of the Wagner paramilitary group and the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadîrov, before blaming the leadership of the Russian army, for the losses in the war, but also for the errors and abuses during the mobilization of the reservists.

Disputes between Putin’s military commanders

In Moscow, the first signs of disputes between Putin’s military commanders and power struggles have appeared, the Washington Post comments.

A video in which Russian soldiers complained about the filthy conditions and criticized the Russian Ministry of Defense was, in fact, directed by the Wagner paramilitary unit, commanded by the oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, nicknamed “Putin’s chef“.

Incidentally, one of Prigozhin’s men, employed at a media trust that criticized the Russian Minister of Defense, Shoigu, was arrested in Moscow, and the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadîrov, was allegedly promoted by Putin to the rank of colonel general. This after he criticized the leadership of the Russian army and directly called for the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

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