Putin on the brink: the explosions in Crimea “have a psychological effect” on the Russian president | World | New

And the constant influx of people returning from the occupied peninsula is making it increasingly difficult to conceal the truth from Russian population as a whole. More than half of the Russian Navy Black Sea Fleet fighter jets were disabled in explosions last week at the Russian-operated Saky military airfield in western Crimea – an area Moscow previously considered safe, insiders explained today.

The Kremlin is busy seeking to assign blame for the debacle and President Vladimir Putin is struggling to hide Ukraine’s success from the Russian population as thousands of Russians fleeing Crimea stream into the country, added officials.

An official said: “Ukraine is now consistently getting kinetic effects far behind Russian lines.

“The incidents had a material effect on Russia’s logistical support, but equally important, there is a significant psychological effect on Russian leadership.”

They added that the attacks had forced the Black Sea Fleet into a defensive posture and hampered Russia’s ability to launch a successful amphibious assault on Odessa on Ukraine’s coast.

This comes as the war has entered a phase of “near operational shutdown”, with neither side’s ground forces having enough concentrated combat power to launch effective offensive actions.

Russia faces an increasingly acute shortage of stockpiles, even of basic ammunition, as well as manpower problems as it struggles to rebuild its forces, the Western official stressed.

READ MORE: Russia risks ‘global nuclear catastrophe’, warns Zelensky

Amid fears the bombing of Russia’s Zaporizhzhia power plant in southern Ukraine – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – could lead to a nuclear disaster, the official said it was built to withstand most direct military fire.

They said the main concerns were the loss of water cooling to nuclear reactors due to a loss of electricity supply.

At least a dozen civilians have been killed this week by Russian strikes in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, according to the Defense Ministry.

The official said: “This civilian suffering provides an unusually stark example of Russian cynicism.”

They added that Moscow did not plan to launch an offensive in the region or derive any major operational advantage from the bombardment.

Meanwhile, the head of GCHQ’s intelligence service said Moscow had failed to gain ground in cyberspace against Ukraine.

In The Economist, Sir Jeremy Fleming said: “So far President Putin has completely lost the information war in Ukraine and the West.

“As with its ground invasion, Russia’s initial online plans appear to have failed.”

In another stark illustration of the challenges facing Putin’s forces, explosions erupted overnight near military bases deep in Russian-held areas of Ukraine and Russia itself, an apparent demonstration of Kyiv’s growing ability to wreak havoc on Moscow’s logistics away from the front lines.

In Russia, two villages have been evacuated after explosions at an ammunition depot in Belgorod province, near the Ukrainian border but more than 100 km (60 miles) from territory controlled by Ukrainian forces.

Closer to the front, Kyiv also announced a number of strikes overnight behind Russian lines in southern Kherson province, including on a bridge at the Kakhovska dam, one of the last routes allowing Russia to supply thousands of soldiers on the west bank of the Dnipro river. .

Seriy Khlan, a member of the Kherson regional council dissolved by the Russian occupation forces, wrote on Facebook: “Ukrainian Armed Forces gave Russians a magical evening.”

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