The Russian leader was not ready to use nuclear weapons
At least 60,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the war so far and more than 2,300 tanks have been destroyed, the authorities in Kyiv said, quoted by Western media. On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that the city of Liman had been completely cleared of Vladimir Putin’s forces. The Russian president has come under sharp criticism in his own country after the forced withdrawal of troops from the strategically important Liman on Saturday, which Moscow uses as a transport and logistics hub.
“We’re very encouraged by what we’re seeing right now,” said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. He added that Liman’s return from Kyiv would create new problems for the Russian army.
Against this background, the head of the main intelligence agency of Ukraine, Kirill Budanov, announced that certain preparatory processes are underway in the Kremlin for the removal of Putin from power.
“There is rivalry, there is not one candidate for the successor, there are several. Some of them were leaked to the media, others were not,” said Budanov. According to him, the transfer of power can have positive consequences for Ukraine under certain conditions.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin submitted to the State Duma a draft law on the annexation of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Kherson Oblast and Zaporozhye Oblast into the Russian Federation.
A report by the Institute for the Study of War claims that the Russian leader is not ready to use nuclear weapons. However, his position may change if he considers that such a move will not lead to direct military intervention by the West and will help him save the position of his troops on the front in Ukraine, the document says. According to experts, Putin’s very request for talks shows his weakness and that he is looking for opportunities to buy time to restore his military strength.
“It is not clear what indicators Putin will use to judge the success of his efforts to save the situation in Ukraine. These efforts of his are in two directions – to rebuild his army and to try to break the West through economic pressure. In both, he will probably fail, but he will probably need more time to realize the consequences for himself and for Russia”, according to the experts. The American Institute for the Study of War emphasizes that if Putin dares to launch a nuclear strike, he will suffer serious losses, as a response from the West will follow.
At the same time, the leaders of nine European countries called on the West to increase military aid to Ukraine and supported its entry into NATO. The statement was signed by the presidents of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
“We support Ukraine in its defense against Russian invasion, demand that Russia immediately withdraw from all occupied territories, and call on all allies to significantly increase their military aid to Ukraine. All those who commit crimes and aggression must be held accountable and brought to justice,” the presidents announced.