The Russian president has sought to ratchet up the pressure after giving the go-ahead to more than 100,000 troops who spent weeks massing the Ukraine border to finally begin the invasion of their neighbor. Moscow’s brutal advance into Ukraine has left a trail of destruction across the war-torn country, with missiles raining down on major cities as thousands of locals flee for their lives. But Russian troops have faced fierce and courageous resistance from Ukrainian forces, who have suffered heavy casualties, including several high-profile military personnel.
Now Putin has suffered another hammer blow after the Ukrainian Security Service allegedly captured 11 Russian snipers who had fired on his positions.
Ukrainian independent media service Hromadske Int tweeted: “The Security Service reported on daily special operations throughout Ukraine.
“During such an operation in Kharkiv Oblast, 11 Russian snipers were captured and fired on Ukrainian positions,” @ServiceSsu reported.
“In total, 140 enemy groups were eliminated and 4,000 collaborators exposed.”
In another tweet, the Security Service of Ukraine (@ServiceSsu) wrote: “The heroic resistance of the Ukrainian defenders in the Kharkiv region demoralized the enemy.
“The occupying forces are in a state of panic and regret that they came to Ukraine for war.
“This is stated in the new telephone conversations of the invaders, who managed to intercept the SBU.”
The Canadian Ukraine Volunteer Twitter account (@CanadianUkrain1), which describes itself as a “four-man team fighting in the Kherson region,” also posted: “Half a platoon of Russian soldiers fled the battle near Kherson.
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UN-brokered evacuations of some of the hundreds of civilians who had taken refuge in the plant’s tunnels and bunkers have been underway for weeks but have been halted in recent days due to renewed fighting.
Earlier today, Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, said that the last stage of the rescue operation had begun.
But authorities in Mariupol said Russian forces had fired on a car that was involved, killing one Ukrainian fighter and wounding six others.
Andriy Biletsky, one of the founders of the Azov Regiment hiding in the steel mill, wrote in an online post: “The fighting continues, the shelling does not stop.
“Every minute of procrastination is the life of civilians, soldiers and the wounded.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that if Russia killed civilians or troops who might otherwise be freed during the blockade of Mariupol, his government would walk away from potential peace talks with Moscow.