The ‘most important’ days of the war in Ukraine have just passed and the ‘collapse’ of Putin’s forces ‘does not seem far away’, says a military expert

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The Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday called the withdrawal of troops from two areas of Ukraine a regroupment. A military expert called it a rout.

“It looks like the last few days were the most important of the Ukrainian war,” said military expert Mike Martin. written in a Twitter thread Saturday. “After what we have seen in the past 72 hours, the collapse of Russian armed forces in Ukraine does not seem far off.”

The Russian decision to move troops from the Balakliya and Izyum regions of the eastern Kharkiv region to the Donetsk region follows a lightning counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces.

“The Russians fled Izyum in what can only be described as a rout,” wrote Martin, a former British army officer who has toured Afghanistan several times as a political officer. “The Ukrainians have just carried out a brilliant combined arms maneuver.”

Ukraine’s military prowess has weighed on Russian morale, according to the Institute for the Study of War, which written thursday“Ukrainian successes on the Kharkiv City-Izyum line are creating fissures in the Russian information space and eroding confidence in the Russian command to a degree not seen since the failure to cross a Russian river at the mid-May.”

Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said on Saturday that the decision was made “to achieve the stated goals of the special military operation to liberate Donbass”. according to the Associated Press. A similar claim, however, followed Russia’s failure to capture the capital Kyiv earlier this year.

“The Russian forces were probably taken by surprise,” said the The British Ministry of Defense said on Saturday, adding that the recovered area was only slightly held. “Ukrainian units are now threatening the city of Kupyansk; its capture would be a blow to Russia as it lies on the supply routes to the Donbass frontline.

Martin, too, noted the importance of the counter-offensive for Donbass, writing: “Russian units would now try to re-establish themselves in Donbass. Once there, they have to deal with the loss of Izyum and Kupyansk – the two railway junctions in this part of the country…the Russians will not be able to carry out any more offensive operations in Donbass until that they reconfigure (if ever?) logistics.”

Russia’s military woes in Ukraine come amid signs of waning support for Russian President Vladimir Putin. City deputies in a Moscow district on Friday called on Putin to step downsaying he took Russia back to the Cold War era.

Earlier this week, lawmakers in St. Petersburg demanded that Putin be impeached and charged with high treason for his decision to invade Ukraine. They were quickly summoned to the police station accused of discrediting the country’s armed forces.

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