Monday, 11 Dec 2023

Putin is ‘fearing for his life’ after humiliating defeat to Ukraine

Vladimir Putin is ‘fearing for his life’ after Russian troops were forced to retreat from Kherson, a Kyiv official has claimed.

The retreat was a humiliating blow to Putin’s army as the strategic city was the first and only regional capital Russia had captured.

Reactions to the defeat in Moscow were of shock and despair, including from state television presenters.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Zelensky’s chief of staff, told The Times: ‘Putin is very afraid because there is no forgiveness in Russia for tsars who lose wars.

‘He is fighting for his life now. If he loses the war, at least in the minds of the Russians, it means the end. The end of him as a political figure, and possibly in the physical sense.

‘This has forced even people who are very loyal to Putin to doubt that they can win this war.’

Andrey Norkin, a presenter for Russian state-owned channel NTV, refused to talk about the Kherson retreat on his show, joking he would be sent to prison if he said his real views.

Meanwhile, Russian political expert Sergey Kurginyan admitted on air that ‘not everything is so terrific’, adding ‘a big conventional war… was not supposed to happen’.

Kherson’s liberation has led to more missile strikes across Ukraine, however, with a newborn baby killed at a maternity hospital in Zaporizhzhia overnight.

Rescuers say the mother and doctor were rescued from the rubble of the two-storey building, but the infant died.

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Grief fills the hearts of Ukrainians, Zaporizhzhia governor Oleksandr Starukh said.

He wrote on Telegram: ‘Overnight, Russian monsters fired huge rockets at the small maternity ward of Vilnyansk hospital.

‘Sorrow fills our hearts — a baby who had just appeared in this world was killed.’

Emergency services shared a video of rescuers trying to pull out a man trapped waist-deep in the rubble of what appears to be the maternity ward.

No one else was trapped in the wreckage, it’s believed.

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