Vladimir Putin is Ready to Take Drastic Measures as Ukrainian Forces Continue to Advance

The Ukrainian conflict is possibly nearing a decisive phase as Kyiv's soldiers advance in the south and east, driving back invading Russian troops. Ukrainian forces have made significant advances in recent days, penetrating Russian lines and retaking numerous villages south of Kherson near the Dnieper River. Kyiv's soldiers have expanded their authority over the countryside by around 30 kilometers. Ukrainian soldiers are attempting to cut off supply routes for the 25,000 Russian troops stationed on the western bank of the river. On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian troops were able to break through Russian lines near the town of ZolotaBalka because they had "superior tank divisions."

The retaking of land lost in the early days of the Russian assault has boosted morale among Ukrainian soldiers. A Ukrainian soldier named Yaroslav who is stationed on the front lines outside of Kherson told that spirits are high. “Previously, the boys' mood was terrible; now it's a lot better. The wins have given us hope, and there is a way out, "he remarked.

In the east, Ukrainian soldiers are likewise solidifying their gains. After Ukrainian soldiers nearly besieged Lyman in Donetsk Oblast over the weekend, Moscow's forces withdrew. Russian tanks that had caught fire and fallen soldiers littered the streets. Ukraine's armed forces announced on Thursday that their soldiers had liberated 93 villages and taken control of more than 2,400 square kilometers of terrain, advancing as far as 55 kilometers into an area formerly seized by Russia.

This week, the United States announced an increase in security aid to Kyiv amounting to $625 million; this aid would be used to purchase four more HIMARS precision-guided multiple rocket launchers. Ukraine claims that these weapons were important in their most recent counteroffensive. OleksandraMatviichuk, a lawyer for human rights and head of Kyiv's Center for Civil Liberties, recently urged the West to do more to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian people will accept war criminals, but they will not tolerate lost war criminals. Hence, Ukraine needs guns and a lot more of them. According to Matviichuk, Vladimir Putin's approval ratings in Russia have already begun to plummet, and the military setback in Ukraine is the first warning sign of that.

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin signed annexation documents for four districts in eastern Ukraine, an unlawful step condemned by the majority of the international community. According to Charles Kupchan, a senior scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, the war is reaching a turning point.

Putin's future depends on this in a very real way. Asserting, "I've succeeded in defending the Russian motherland and extending it," is crucial to his survival. Nobody knows where this will lead. However, "it's reasonable to say that this is arguably the most critical moment for Mr. Putin since he assumed power almost 20 years ago," said Kupchan.

Vladimir Putin's statements that he will protect Russia by whatever means necessary have sparked concerns that he may resort to the use of nuclear weapons. It's hard to tell what Russia will do next, James Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

He remarked, "Things are heading in a very negative direction for Russia." I don't know how terrible things would have to become before Russia really considered deploying nuclear weapons. Putin may not fully see how dire a situation must become before he resorts to nuclear weapons if indeed he does.

That additional escalation, that prospect of an even greater all-out nuclear war, would intimidate Ukraine and its Western sponsors, the United States in particular, into backing down.

Russia is currently employing conventional forces in an effort to turn the tide. The Defense Ministry reported this week that since the announcement of the partial mobilization two weeks ago, more than 200,000 individuals have been conscripted into the armed forces. Initially, the Kremlin aimed to enlist 300,000 males.

According to Hird of the Institute for the Study of War, Russia's territorial losses would not be immediately mitigated by the mobilization. Neither more defense nor more offense can be expected from these forces in the near future. It's also doubtful that these troops will be particularly well-trained or motivated over the long term, she added.