Putin on brink as leader exposed for ‘not having a plan’ for winter

Russia fighting 'holy war' against the West says Aleksandr Dugin

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Vladimir Putin “does not have a strategy” for taking over Ukraine, an analyst has claimed, and is resorting to a “terror campaign” weaponising refugees ahead of the winter. David Sanger, a US national security analyst, told CNN that Putin is trying to “start another flood of refugees” from Ukraine into Europe by destroying energy infrastructure facilities across the nation, forcing civilians to either freeze or flee. Average temperatures in Ukraine in the winter months tend to be around zero degrees celsius and Russia is hoping to offset battlefield defeats by depopulating Ukraine, draining its forces of reservists and crippling the economy, as well as putting more pressure on Western countries supporting Ukraine. 

Mr Sanger said: “Putin is trying to start another flood of refugees into Europe during the winter. He is going to try to freeze out those who remain. 

“This is a strategy for somebody who does not have a plan or a strategy for taking the country over. 

“So, [he is thinking] let’s freeze them out. A lot of people will die, particularly young people, those that get hypothermia. I have been in Ukraine in the winter. It is, as you say, pretty cold. 

“And this is the strategy of someone who has, as Zelensky said, decided to conduct a terror campaign atop the military campaign.” 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia on Thursday night of engaging in “energy terrorism” after Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy network left residents without power.

About 4.5 million people were without electricity across the country, Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address. 

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 450,000 apartments in the capital alone did not have power on Friday.

“I appeal to all residents of the capital: save electricity as much as possible because the situation remains difficult!” the mayor wrote on Telegram. 

State-owned grid operator Ukrenergo reported on Friday that emergency blackouts would be taking place across Kyiv.

Russia has carried out attacks on Ukrainian power facilities, particularly in recent weeks. 

In his address, Mr Zelensky described the targeting of energy infrastructure as a sign of weakness.

“The very fact that Russia is resorting to energy terrorism shows the weakness of our enemy,” he said. “They cannot beat Ukraine on the battlefield, so they try to break our people this way.”

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Mr Zelensky spoke soon after Moscow-appointed authorities in southern Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region said Russian troops were likely to leave the city of Kherson — a claim that Ukrainian officials greeted with some scepticism.

The Kremlin-installed regional administration already has moved tens of thousands of civilians out of the city, citing the threat of increased shelling as Ukraine’s army pursues a counteroffensive to reclaim the region. Authorities removed the Russian flag from the Kherson administration building on Thursday, a week after the regional government moved out.

Ukraine’s southern military spokeswoman, Natalia Humeniuk, said the flag’s removal could be a ruse “and we should not hurry to rejoice.” 

She told Ukrainian television that some Russian military personnel are disguising themselves as civilians.

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