Ukraine War - Russia Putin reverses the situation at the front and in the rear, but Zelensky does not give up

The head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, closes the year with the initiative in the hands of the Russian army in Ukraine, the main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, in an Arctic prison and the armed rebellion of Wagner's mercenaries forgotten after the sudden death of his leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin

Ukraine War - Russia Putin reverses the situation at the front and in the rear, but Zelensky does not give up

The head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, closes the year with the initiative in the hands of the Russian army in Ukraine, the main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, in an Arctic prison and the armed rebellion of Wagner's mercenaries forgotten after the sudden death of his leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

"The reality today is that Ukraine does not and will not have the resources not only to achieve a turning point, but even to maintain the situation on the front line," said Russian ambassador Vasili Nebenzia during the session. urgently convened by the UN Security Council after the largest Russian bombing since the beginning of the war.

A fan of coups, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to the massive enemy attack, which left 39 dead, by visiting the epicenter of the bloodiest battle of the conflict, the town of Avdivka, which the Russians have been trying to surround since October.

"Assessing the situation on the ground, at the front, it can be safely stated that our troops have the initiative. In short, we do what we consider necessary, we do what we want," said a proud Putin at his first major press conference. from the war.

This week's capture of the town of Márinka, which is located a few kilometers from the capital of the People's Republic of Donetsk, shows that the Russian offensive that began in October is beginning to bear fruit.

Ukrainian and Western experts do not consider that the first Russian victory since May will change the situation on the front, but it does show that the Kremlin is not going to spare troops or equipment to advance in Donbas.

Now, the Russian army will be able to focus all its winter efforts on closing the bottleneck through which Kiev can still send reinforcements and supplies to the defenders and the few inhabitants who still remain in the Avdivka bastion, the scene of some thirty attacks in the last 24 hours, according to the Ukrainian General Staff.

Of course, the road is full of obstacles, as demonstrated by the sinking this week of one of the landing ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the "Novocherkassk", an attack by Ukrainian aviation in which dozens of sailors would have died.

The urgent session of the Security Council demonstrated that, although Western weaponry arrives in dribs and drabs, the international community does not stand idly by against Russian attacks.

"It is crucial that the world reacts to this latest act of terror," Zelensky said in his daily televised address.

Zelensky assured that Ukraine continues to strengthen its anti-aircraft shield, something fundamental, since everyone in Kiev, from the head of the Army to the Minister of Defense, predicts that Moscow will continue bombing the country's civil and military infrastructure in the coming weeks.

The Ukrainian leader congratulated his compatriots on Christmas from the trenches of Avdivka, where he decorated his defenders, aware that the future of the war depends on their courage.

Meanwhile, in the Russian rear, Navalny was sentenced in August to another 19 years in prison for extremism, but he was not transferred to another prison until he announced this month his campaign against Putin's re-election.

From one day to the next, the lawyers lost all contact with the opponent. His co-religionists and the Western foreign ministries feared for the life of Navalni, who reappeared this week, 20 days later, in a prison in the Arctic Circle.

The message left no room for doubt. Nothing and no one will prevent Putin's re-election in March 2024 for a fifth six-year presidential term.

Furthermore, one of Navalny's few allies who did not go into exile, the Siberian deputy Ksenia Fadéyeva, was sentenced on Friday to nine years in prison for the mere fact of collaborating with the Kremlin's number one enemy.

Few now remember that in June Wagner's mercenaries carried out an unusual event since Putin assumed power in 2000. An armed rebellion that put the Kremlin on the ropes.

The uprising, during which the Wagnerites took Rostov, a southern city of one million inhabitants, lasted just 24 hours, but the rebels were barely 200 kilometers from Moscow.

In an attempt to close ranks in the midst of the enemy counteroffensive, Putin would meet several days later with Prigozhin in the Kremlin, but the feeling of weakness was already evident in the eyes of the Russians.

Prigozhin paid for the act of rebellion with his life. The private plane in which he was traveling crashed exactly two months later in Russian territory.

Putin openly blamed the plane's occupants for the "air disaster" and regretted that blood tests for drugs and alcohol had not been carried out, but hardly anyone believed his explanations. Now, every Russian military knows that the Kremlin does not forgive traitors.