The military experts from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) call Putin’s reaction to the Ukrainian counter-offensive a deadly mistake. “Putin risks a common but deadly mistake by waiting too long to send reinforcements to the Luhansk front.”
Instead, Ukraine is putting the Russians under massive pressure with their offensives near Kherson and Kharkiv – the “ISW” experts speak of a “time-and-space dilemma”: Actually, the Russian army would have to withdraw troops from other theaters of war in order to establish a new line of defense in threatened areas. However, the experts see no such shifts – instead, the attacks in Bakhmut and Donetsk will continue.
According to Ukrainian sources, after the partial withdrawal of its own troops, Russia fired on the neighboring country’s critical infrastructure. The eastern Ukrainian regions of Kharkiv and Donetsk are completely without electricity, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Twitter on Sunday evening. His adviser Mykhailo Podoliak said that one of the largest thermal power plants in the country was hit in Kharkiv. There were also reports of problems with the electricity and water supply from other areas of the country.
In the meantime, there was an air alert throughout Ukraine in the evening. Some residents reported the sound of the explosion on social media. Later, at least the authorities in the Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk and Poltava regions announced that the power supply had been restored there.
According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian army has recaptured the strategically important city of Izyum in the east of the country from Russian troops. Military experts see this as a serious setback for the Russian army in eastern Ukraine.
The army continued to “liberate hundreds of our towns and villages”, most recently the towns of Balakliya and Kupyansk, Zelensky said in a video speech on Sunday evening. Kupyansk is considered to be an important city for the supply of Russian troops and was already important at the beginning of the Russian war of aggression.
After their defeat in Kharkiv, Russian troops are also withdrawing from parts of the southern Cherson region, according to information from Kyiv. In some places, the occupiers have already left their positions there, the Ukrainian general staff said. This information could not be independently verified.
Under pressure from Ukrainian counter-offensives, Russia’s defense ministry announced the withdrawal of its own troops from the Kharkiv region over the weekend, more than six months after the start of the war. The withdrawal was officially justified with a strategic “regrouping” of the units.
On the 200th day of the war, Zelenskyy thanked his compatriots for defending their homeland. “We have achieved a lot in these 200 days, but the most important and therefore the most difficult thing is still ahead of us,” said Zelenskyj in his video speech on Monday night. Among other things, he thanked the Ukrainian ground forces, the air force, the naval forces – and everyone who wrote “the history of independence, the history of victory, the history of Ukraine” these days.
In view of Kiev’s recent successes, leading politicians from the Ampel parties in the Bundestag called for more support for the Ukrainian military offensive. “Germany must immediately do its part in Ukraine’s successes and deliver protected vehicles, the Marder infantry fighting vehicle and the Leopard 2 battle tank,” said the chair of the Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, the German Press Agency. SPD leader Lars Klingbeil at least did not close his eyes to this and emphasized the need for international coordination.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron called Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin to discuss the ongoing critical situation at the Russian-occupied Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhia. According to a Kremlin statement, Putin has called for international action on Ukraine to stop its attacks on the plant. Macron, in turn, emphasized that the Russian occupation was the reason for the dangerous situation at the nuclear power plant, the Èlyséepalast said. He demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of shelling the facility itself.
It also became known on Sunday that the largest nuclear power plant in Europe had to be shut down completely. According to the Ukrainian nuclear authority Enerhoatom, all connection lines to the power grid were temporarily interrupted due to shelling. The Russian side also confirmed the shutdown of the power plant, on the site of which two employees of the IAEA are still monitoring the situation.
According to a survey, more than six months after the Russian attack on Ukraine, a majority of Germans are willing to do without something in order to support the sanctions against Moscow, despite high energy costs. 53 percent expressed themselves accordingly in the representative survey by the Civey Institute for the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Monday). 42 percent, on the other hand, do not want to do without it. Five percent are therefore undecided.
However, there are differences among supporters of the various parties: according to the survey, voters from the Greens and SPD in particular are willing to make sacrifices. In the Green camp, there are even more than nine out of ten respondents. Supporters of the Union are rather divided on the issue. Among the sympathizers of the FDP, Linke and AfD, a majority is against the waiver of sanctions.
That will be important on Monday
As of this Monday, Russian citizens will no longer benefit from the simplified issuing of visas for trips to Germany and other countries in the Schengen area. The agreement concluded between the EU and Russia to facilitate the issuing of visas has now been completely suspended for Russian citizens following a decision by the EU states last week.
Putin admits sanctions-related economic problems. The head of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant accuses Russia of kidnapping and torturing employees. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war in the ticker.
Russia is said to have moved its Guards Tank Army to southern Ukraine. Kyiv then responded with a double counter-offensive. “Ours are putting the pressure on,” said a security adviser. Kyiv has officially admitted rocket attacks on Crimea for the first time. You can find all the latest news about the war in Ukraine here in the ticker.