Russia said on Tuesday that it was proceeding massive bombings on all front lines in Ukraine and accused Ukrainian forces of torturing and punishing civilians in reclaimed territory as part of their counteroffensive. The Russian attacks come after its forces were forced to withdraw from several areas of northeastern Ukraine, particularly in the Kharkov region, due to the lightning counter-attack launched by the Ukrainian army. Faced with this Kyiv outpost, the Kremlin is ruling out the general or partial mobilization of its population for the time being.
Attacks in different directions
“Air and artillery forces are carrying out massive attacks against Ukrainian Armed Forces units in all operational directions,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in its daily report on the conflict. High-precision bombardments were also launched on Ukrainian positions around Sloviansk and Konstantinovka in the Donetsk region in the east of the country.
At a time, Moscow has accused kyiv’s army of torturing civilians living in the recently recaptured territories.. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian presidency had received information from the Kharkov region that “many punitive actions are taking place, people are being tortured and mistreated.”
Russia also on Tuesday denounced what it sees as “increasing bias and politicization” of the UN for Moscow’s criticism of its top human rights body, while keeping silent on the violations committed by Western countries.
Ukrainian forces launched their counter-offensive in early September, apparently taking the Russian army by surprise. According to the Ukrainian authorities, their soldiers have recovered large swaths of territory and towns such as Izium, Kupiansk and Balakliya in the northeast; and about 500 square kilometers in the Kherson region to the south.
The Ukrainian army in the Kharkov region has recovered since September 6 more than 300 settlements and areas that are home to around 150,000 peoplesaid Deputy Foreign Minister Ganna Maliar. On Monday, President Volodimir Zelensky assured that in September his troops had recovered six thousand square kilometers under Russian control.
US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said Ukrainian forces were making significant progress. Still, Blinken added that “it is too early to say exactly where this is going. The Russians maintain very large forces in Ukraine, as well as equipment, weapons and ammunition.”
Russia rules out mobilization
The Russian withdrawal from the Kharkov region put on the table the pressing lack of men in the ranks of the Russian army fighting in Ukraine. Crimean MP from the Kremlin party, United Russia, Mijail Sheremet, assured on Tuesday that without general mobilization Russian troops will not achieve the goals that were set when launching the “special military operation” last February .
This view is shared by many Russian military experts and bloggers, as the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov criticized the mistakes made by the generals on the battlefield and was ready to send 10,000 men to the front. Pro-Russians noted that Ukrainian forces in Kharkov were eight times larger than Russian forces, who chose to withdraw, leaving behind fuel and military equipment in enemy hands.
According to the local press, the president Vladimir Poutine consider that most Russians are unwilling to send their sons to fight in Ukraine. “At the moment we are not talking about that,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in his daily telephone press briefing.
70% of Russians more or less support the military campaign, which 18% oppose, according to the latest official poll. While Ukraine interpreted the Russian withdrawal from Kharkov as a great victory allowing it to recover thousands of square kilometers of territory, the Russian Defense Ministry argued that its decision was aimed at strengthening its positions in Donbass.
Blame the Germans for weapons
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikovhe told the French daily The world What the war has entered a new phase thanks to Western weapons. The Ukrainian government has insisted that the West provide it with more sophisticated weapons. But Germany was again criticized for not delivering the Leopard tanks it claimed to Kyiv.
“No rational argument as to why these weapons cannot be provided, just abstract fears and excuses”said the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kulebaafter German Prime Minister Olaf Scholz dodged a question about it on Monday, saying Germany was not going to go it alone on arms supplies.
The German leader urged Putin in a phone call on Tuesday to “reach a diplomatic solution as quickly as possible, based on a ceasefire, the complete withdrawal of Russian forces and respect for territorial integrity. and sovereignty of Ukraine”.
Meanwhile, far from the battlefield, Ukraine’s allies continue the energy crisis resulting from the shutdown of the Russian gas tap in the European Union (EU). The Czech Republic, which holds the rotating EU presidency, called an extraordinary meeting on September 30 to seek emergency measures to curb soaring energy prices.