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UKRAINE AND RUSSIA
Russia withdrew from Kherson, the only Ukrainian provincial capital it controlled and a city that, six weeks ago, Putin vowed would forever be part of Russia. It was the most consequential political and military defeat for Russia since the war began. With control of Kherson, Ukraine has a much better chance of retaking Crimea. Kherson is also the control point for fresh water to Crimea. Former Kremlin adviser Sergei Markov described the flight from Kherson as “the largest geopolitical defeat of Russia since the collapse of the USSR.”
“The decision to withdraw, apparently made by Russia’s formidable theater commander-in-chief, suggests the belated empowerment of the generals. At a time when the Russian Army is coming under vocal attack from militant hardliners and ultranationalists for its failings, that speaks volumes.”
Moscow’s hard-line pro-war faction, including nationalist military bloggers, called the surrender of the city a “betrayal” and a “black day.” Kherson, along with the other illegally annexed regions, was written into the Russian constitution as part of Russia after the parliament affirmed Putin’s annexation plans.
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