Russia are ‘in a big mess militarily’ says Ledwidge
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Former military officer Frank Ledwidge has said that Russia has been left “in a big mess militarily” by the recent Ukrainian counter offensives and will look to launch more “strategic strikes on power” to stem the success of the defending nation. Mr Lewdige said that Ukraine has been “redeploying units hither and thither over the last week” and lauded the success those forces have had in gaining the upper hand. But, he said, Russia will now look to overcome this difficulty and warned of Putin’s response. It comes as Russian officials have gone quiet regarding what they call a “special military operation” in Ukraine amid concern they may be losing the war.
Mr Ledwidge said: “What this is, is not attritional warfare, which is the form of conflict the Russians like. What we are seeing now is manoeuvre warfare.
“It is fast-moving, combined arms operations, which the Ukrainians have not shown themselves to be able to do so far, but have absolutely aced it over the last week or ten days. And that is really significant from a military perspective because a lot of people expressed doubts that they could do that.
“Ukrainians believe their president when he says the objective is to retake all their lands and negotiations will not start until they do. And now they believe their army might be in a position to be able to achieve that, or at least to achieve a significant portion of it.
“They have committed almost all of their reserves. They have got these ramshackle units. They have tried to put together a so-called further mechanised or Armoured Corps that they have been training up in the last month. I think that has been deployed around Donbas already, or if not, to Kherson, it is not clear.
“They have been redeploying units hither and thither over the last week as a result of this offensive by the Ukrainiains. Well, it is one of the reasons it has been so successful.
“Now, [Russia] is in a big mess militarily but that does not mean that Putin is short of options. You are already seeing some of the riposte now in the form of strategic strikes on power. We will probably see it on other utilities as well and probably just railway stations and the usual civilian targets that we have seen the Russians target over the last six months.”
Ukrainian forces swept deeper into territory seized from fleeing Russian troops on Monday and joyful residents returned to former frontline villages.
Ukraine’s general staff said its soldiers had recaptured more than 20 towns and villages in just the past day.
“People are crying, people are joyful, of course. How could they not be joyful!” said retired English teacher Zoya, 76, in the now-quiet village of Zolochiv, north of Kharkiv and 18 km (10 miles) from the Russian frontier, weeping as she described the months she had spent sheltering in the cellar.
Nastya, 28, had fled the village in April but returned last week after news of Ukrainian advances. “I think everyone’s in a great (mood). It’s all over now. At least we hope it’s all over,” she said, queuing for groceries with two small children.
Further north, Ukrainian troops had moved into Udi, a hamlet in what had been no-man’s-land closer to the frontier. Soldiers returning from there said it was still unsafe, littered with land mines, grenades and weapons left behind by fleeing Russian troops, with abandoned farm animals wandering about.
Vitaly Ganchev, the Russian-installed head of Moscow’s occupation administration in what remained of Russian-held territory in the Kharkiv region, acknowledged that Ukrainian forces had broken through to the frontier.
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President Vladimir Putin and his senior officials have been silent in the face of Russian forces’ worst defeat since the war’s early weeks when they were repelled from the outskirts of Kyiv. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov side-stepped a reporter’s question if Putin still had confidence in the military leadership.
“The special military operation continues. And it will continue until the goals that were originally set are achieved,” Peskov said.
Putin was later shown on state TV chairing a meeting on the economy at which he made no reference to the retreat and said Russia was holding up well in the face of Western sanctions. “The economic blitzkrieg tactics, the onslaught they were counting on, did not work,” he said.
After days of avoiding any reference to the retreat, Russia’s ministry of defence acknowledged on Saturday it had abandoned its main stronghold in the northeast, Izium and neighbouring Balakliya, saying it was a pre-planned “regrouping”.
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