Putin facing ‘serious problems inside Russia’ over rising pressure

Putin 'facing serious problems inside Russia' says Kurt Volker

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Former NATO ambassador Kurt Volker said the latest wave of Russian attacks on Ukraine is the most recent sign Vladimir Putin is under growing pressure in Russia. His forces’ repeated failures and retreats from the battleground signal Russia have been met with nationwide counterattacks on Ukraine, with missiles raining down on major Ukrainian cities. Russian citizens are growing aware of the reality of the war despite the Kremlin’s war propaganda, Mr Volker said, suggesting Putin’s position is becoming untenable.

Mr Volker told CNN: “I think Putin is facing  some serious problems inside Russia, where everyone knows that his war against Ukraine is failing and is deeply damaging to Russia, both militarily and economically.”

Looking at the state of play in Kherson, he said: “What is interesting here is that Russia is unable to win the war. They are not able to hold the territory that they’ve already taken. 

“Ukraine is pushing them back. We saw that in eastern Kharkiv, and we’ve seen that in Donbas. We’ve seen that now around Kherson.

“And this will continue. I think the Ukrainians will continue to call back territory.”

The former NATO Ambassador added Vladimir has followed the same playbook of retaliating against Ukraine when Russian forces were on the back footing: “All Russia is able to do is terrorise Ukrainian cities by raining bombs on them, forcing people to shelters, turning out the electricity – maybe that interrupts the water supply. 

“That is the kind of terror that Russia wants to inflict on the population.

“Ukraine will not give up. They will continue to fight and ultimately, Russia will be defeated.”

Tensions escalated to the brink of a full-blown Third World War on Tuesday after a Russian-made missile struck NATO-member Poland killing two people.

The missile landed outside the rural Polish village of Przewodow, about four miles west of the Ukrainian border on Tuesday afternoon at about the same time Russia launched a fresh wave of missiles on Ukrainian cities.

The incident marks the first time a NATO member has been directly hit, raising questions as to whether NATO would trigger article 5 and counter the attack.

Poland’s President, whose country convened a meeting of its national security council, said the authorities are unable to identify who launched the missile: “It was most likely a Russian-made missile, but this is all still under investigation at the moment,” President Andrzej Duda told reporters.

NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is chairing a meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels to address the explosion in Eastern Poland on Wednesday, with Poland set to request consultations under Article 4 of the NATO treaty.

Russia’s Defence Ministry has denied that any Russian missiles struck Polish territory, describing such reports as “a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation”. 

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Speaking on the sidelines of the G20 summit, US President Joe Biden said preliminary information suggested it was “unlikely” the missile was fired from Russia, while the Associated Press news agency quoted US officials saying it could have been fired by Ukraine, attempting to intercept a Russian airstrike against its territory.

The US President said: “We agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion … And I’m going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened” adding the leaders offered sympathy over the death of two people.

He added: “Then we’re going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed. There was total unanimity among the folks at the table.”

A Polish-led investigation into the incident has yet to establish the facts and identify who, why and from where the missiles were launched.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for NATO allies to wait for the results of “a full investigation into the circumstances behind missiles falling in Poland yesterday” before taking action.

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