(JustPatriots.com)- A conflict journalist, David Patrikarakos, went to Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine two months ago. He reported that it originally housed more than a million people, but today it is referred to as “the city of broken windows.”
Patrikarakos says many of its structures had been destroyed by the constant Russian bombing and were now mainly vacant.
Despite Vladimir Putin’s cruelty, the Ukrainians were purportedly upbeat about their chances of winning. And while their bravery was admirable, perhaps few of them anticipated how quickly events would develop in and around Kharkiv.
Over the previous three days, a daring and bold Ukrainian counterattack has resulted in the widespread Russian troop surrender in the Kharkiv region.
President Zelensky claims that Ukrainian soldiers have liberated town after hamlet, reclaiming 2,317 square miles of territory—an area roughly the size of Lincolnshire.
The events just 12 kilometers from the Russian border are shocking to Moscow’s reputation and military strategy. “What are we supposed to make of Russian forces simply running away while leaving behind their Soviet-era military equipment, proof that they were utilizing drones supplied by Iran, and their destroyed and abandoned tanks?” Patrikarakos asks.
“What should we make of the allegations that Ukraine is running out of room to store the recent wave of captured Russian soldiers, including a sizable number of officers?”
Part of this may be propaganda, Patrikarakos notes. However, it is undeniable that these most recent events in and around Kharkiv are a catastrophe for Putin. Even his Kremlin lickspittles have had trouble making the news seem favorable.
Patrikarakos says that Russian military officials acknowledged yesterday that their forces had left three crucial cities in the Kharkiv province: Balakliya, Izyum, and Kupiansk.
It was an admission that would have been unfathomable three months prior, much like the astounding declaration made by a politician on state-run Russian TV on Monday night.
Boris Nadezhdin asserted that Putin had been duped by his staff and that Ukraine would never be victorious. The only way forward, he added, was through peace negotiations.
Patrikarakos states that Putin knows that the few victories his army has had in the last six months have been extremely costly. The Pentagon has calculated that up to 80,000 of the initial 200,000-strong army amassed by the Kremlin for the invasion in February have been killed or injured. Desertion and retreat are now having to be added to this terrible toll by the Russian propaganda apparatus. Putin must sense the pressure from within his bunker.
“Putin still holds out the possibility of using nuclear weapons, which he has repeatedly threatened to do since the conflict began,” Patrikarakos warns ominously.
But Putin knows that firing the first nuclear missiles since 1945 would be a horrible overstep. A collapse as complete as that experienced by the Soviet Union in 1990 would bankrupt the Russian economy. Even Germany, so dependent on Russian gas, would not accept it if Putin did that.