For Russia’s Putin, military and diplomatic pressures mount

KYIV: Pressure on the Russian President Vladimir Putin attached both on the battlefield and in the hall of global power as Ukrainians The army launched a counteroffensive that pushed Saturday further into the northeast that had recaptured parts of the country.
At a summit in Uzbekistan, Putin has vowed to attack Ukraine despite recent military defeats but must also address concerns about the protracted conflict voiced by India and China.
“I know that in this day and age there is no war,” Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi told the Russian leader in televised comments when the two met Friday in Uzbekistan. At the summit on the same day a day earlier, Putin acknowledged China’s unspecified “questions and concerns” about the war in Ukraine, and thanked the Chinese President. Xi Jinping for the government’s “balanced stance” on the conflict.
The hasty retreat of his troops this month from the northeastern regions they occupied at the beginning of the war, coupled with the rare reticence of key allies, underscored the challenges Putin faces. faced on all fronts. Both China and India maintain close ties with Russia and have sought to remain neutral towards Ukraine.
In a statement released by the government, Xi expressed support for Russia’s “core interests” but was also interested in working together to “create stability” on world affairs. . Modi said he wanted to discuss “how we can move forward on the path of peace.”
On the battlefield, Western analysts and defense officials on Saturday said Russian forces appeared to be establishing a new line of defense in Ukraine’s northeast after Kyiv’s troops penetrated the front line. and tried to strengthen their advances to the east.
The British Ministry of Defense said in a daily press conference that the boundary could be between the Oskil and Svatove rivers, about 150 kilometers southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.
The new line came after Ukraine’s counteroffensive broke a hole through the previous front line of the war, allowing Kyiv’s troops to retake large swaths of land in the northeastern Kharkiv region bordering Russia.
After Russian troops withdrew from the city of Izium, Ukrainian authorities discovered a mass grave, one of the largest discovered to date. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that more than 440 graves have been found in the area but the number of victims has yet to be determined.
Zelenskyy said the graves contained the bodies of hundreds of adults and children of civilians, as well as soldiers, and some had been tortured, shot or killed by shelling. He cited evidence of atrocities, such as his body being wrapped in ropes around his neck and broken arms.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces continue to cross the key Oskil River in the Kharkiv region as they attempt to strike at Russian-occupied territory, according to the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.
The institute said in its report on Saturday that satellite imagery it examined showed Ukrainian forces had crossed the eastern bank of Oskil in Kupiansk, placing artillery there. The river, which flows south from Russia into Ukraine, has been a natural fault line in the new front line since Ukraine launched its operation about a week ago.
“Russian forces are likely too weak to halt Ukrainian advances along the entire Oskil River if Ukrainian forces choose to continue offensive operations,” the institute said.
Videos that went viral online on Saturday showed Ukrainian forces also continuing to land in the jam-packed east of the country.
One video shows a Ukrainian soldier walking past a building, its roof destroyed, then looking up over his shoulder at a colleague who is hoisting a blue-yellow Ukrainian flag from a cell phone tower. The soldier in the video identifies the captured village as Dibrova, just northeast of the city of Sloviansk and southeast of the crowded city of Lyman in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
Another online video shows two Ukrainian soldiers in what appears to be a bell tower. A Ukrainian flag is flown as a soldier says they have captured the village of Shchurove, just northeast of Sloviansk.
The Ukrainian army and the Russians did not immediately acknowledge the change of ownership of the two villages.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russian forces continued to attack cities and villages with rocket attacks and shelling.
Oleh Syniehubov, the regional governor, said a Russian missile strike early Saturday had begun in the industrial area of ​​Kharkiv. Firefighters extinguished the fire.
Syniehubov said the remnants of the missile showed that the Russians fired an S-300 surface-to-air missile at the city. The S-300 is designed to hit missiles or aircraft in the sky, not targets on the ground. Analysts say Russia’s use of missiles for ground attacks suggests it may be running low on some precision weapons as the months-long war continues.
Shelling on the nearby city of Chuhuiv on Saturday killed an 11-year-old girl, Syniehubov reported.
In the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, largely occupied by Russians, one person was injured after Russian forces shelled the city of Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia’s Ukrainian governor Oleksandr Starukh reported on Telegram. Starukh said the Russian military also shelled two villages in the area, destroying several civilian facilities there.
Explosions were also reported Saturday in Russian-held areas of Zaporizhzhia. Russian official Vladimir Rogov said on Telegram that at least five explosions were heard in the city of Melitopol, which was occupied very early in the war.
The city’s Ukrainian mayor, Ivan Fedorov, said the explosions occurred in a village south of the city, where the Russian military “removed part of its military equipment and personnel”.
According to Governor Valentyn Reznichenko, the central region of Dnipropetrovsk also burned during the night. “The enemy attacked six times and launched more than 90 deadly projectiles into peaceful cities and villages,” Reznichenko said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s atomic energy operator, Energoatom, said a convoy of 25 trucks had carried diesel fuel and other essential supplies to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – a nuclear power plant. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, closed a week ago due to concerns that fighting in the area could lead to a radioactive disaster.
Energoatom said trucks were allowed through Russian checkpoints on Friday to deliver damaged power line repair parts, chemicals for plant operations and supplemental fuel for diesel generators. backup, Energoatom said in a statement.
The six reactor plant was occupied by Russian troops in March but is still operated by Ukrainian engineers. Its last reactor was shut down on Sunday after repeated power outages from shelling put critical safety systems at risk.
The Russian military on Saturday accused Ukraine of shelling the power plant and its employees protested the attack. The Ukrainian authorities did not immediately resolve the claim.
In Russia, one person was killed and two others injured on Saturday as a result of shelling on a Ukrainian village, according to Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Russia’s Belgorod border region.

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