Vladimir Putin is reeling from a recent setback in Ukraine, as Russian allies urge for him to scale back controversial military measures.
Pressure is mounting on Russian leader Vladimir Putin after weeks of gruelling military setbacks and internal demands to end mobilisation.
After nine months in Ukraine, defence officials made the “difficult” decision to retreat from Kherson city, the only regional capital Moscow’s forces had taken since February 24.
Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, said there was a very real threat to Putin’s legacy in Russia after being forced on the back foot in an operation many believed would be over in a matter of weeks.
“(Putin) is very afraid because there is no forgiveness in Russia for tsars who lose wars,” Arestovich said via The Times.
“He is fighting for his life now. If he loses the war, at least in the minds of the Russians, it means the end. The end of him as a political figure. And possibly in the physical sense.
“This has forced even people who are very loyal to Putin to doubt that they can win this war.”
Pressure is mounting on Russian leader Vladimir Putin after a month of military setbacks and internal demands to end mobilisation.
After nine months in Ukraine, defence officials made the ‘difficult’ decision to retreat from Kherson city, the only regional capital Moscow’s forces had won since February 24.
Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky also claimed his Russian counterpart is fearing for what might happen to him in the coming years after the invasion, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives on both sides.
“This person has no other fear but the fear for his life,” Zelensky said in August.
“His life depends on whether he is threatened by his population or not. Nothing else is threatening to him.”
Putin is also facing problems from within as Russian officials push for an end to mobilisation within the nation of 145 million. The push for more troops has seen an exodus of young working males to neighbouring countries and is “affecting the psychological state of society”, according to Emilia Salbunova, who is a member of the Karelia Legislative Assembly.
In a letter published to Telegram this week Salbunova and other regional leaders pushed for Putin to reverse the military measures.
“This fact affects the psychological state of society, is a source of anxiety and increased anxiety in Russian families and work collectives, and many people have health problems. Applications must be supported by a decree,” she wrote.
Analysts, including former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, say Putin’s regime is beginning to crack under the weight of global scrutiny, which has hit Russia’s economy hard amid a mass exodus of Western companies.
A recent segment on a state TV broadcast showed pundits debating over Russia’s dependence on foreign technologies and whether the state should nationalise existing assets from Western companies still operating in the country.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has announced the recapture of almost the entire region of an isolated peninsula off the Black Sea, where fighting continues to rage.
“We are restoring full control over the region. We have three settlements left on the Kinburn Split to officially no longer be a region at war,” said Mykolaiv regional governor Vitaly Kim on social media.
The southern split jutting into the Black Sea is divided in two: in the west, as part of the Mykolaiv region and to the east as part of the Kherson region.
It is cut off from territory controlled by Ukraine’s forces by the Dnipro river, which flows through the Kherson region.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the European Union in an online press conference that its support was crucial, warning against “fatigue” towards the war.
“If we Ukrainians are not tired, the rest of Europe has neither moral nor political right to be tired,” he said.
Ukraine has announced the recapture of almost the entire region of an isolated peninsula off the Black Sea.
Kremlin-installed authorities said the Crimean peninsula was targeted by drone strikes on Wednesday, adding that Moscow’s forces there were “on alert”.
The strike came as Kyiv claimed another territorial victory and just days after Moscow said it was strengthening its position on the Crimean peninsula.
“There is an attack with drones,” the governor of the Sevastopol administrative region in Crimea, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on Telegram.
“Our air defence forces are working right now.” He said two drones had “already been shot down”.