Vladimir Putin describes the assassination attempts against him
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The former US Defence Secretary, James Mattis, said Russia is “withering” before our eyes, describing Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as “pathetic” and “immoral”.
The assassination attempts carried out against three pro-Russian officials in the last fortnight suggest a growing resistance movement in southern Ukraine, according to CNN.
All three incidents allegedly took place in the town of Kherson, an area which is strategically important to Russia due to its access to the Black Sea coast and the Crimean peninsula.
The first attack was carried out on June 16 against the pro-Russian head of Kherson’s prison service, Eugeniy Sobolev, when an explosion damaged his vehicle but he survived.
Meanwhile, Dmitry Savluchenko, the pro-Russian official in charge of the Department of Youth and Sports for the Kherson region, was killed in a car explosion on June 24.
Another pro-Russian official’s car was targeted earlier this week but the target survived.
It comes after Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s Chief of Defence Intelligence, claimed the Russian President also survived an unsuccessful assassination attempt just days after the war in Ukraine began.
Budanov said: “There was an attempt to assassinate Putin. He was even attacked, it is said, by representatives of the Caucasus, not so long ago”.
At the Seoul Forum on Friday (July 1), Mr Mattis called the Ukraine war, started by the Russian despot, “operationally stupid”.
He said: “We have a saying in America, we say that nations with allies thrive, nations without allies wither and we’re watching Russia wither before our eyes right now.
“The tragedy of our time is that Putin is a creature straight out of Dostoevsky.
“He goes to bed every night angry, he goes to bed every night fearful, he goes to bed every night thinking that Russia is surrounded by nightmares and this has guided him.”
His comments come after Russia made the announcement that it was leaving Ukraine’s Snake Island, in a major blow to Putin.
Russian forces withdrew from the Island with the Kremlin portraying it as a “goodwill gesture”.
In a statement, the defence ministry said: “On June 30, as a gesture of goodwill, the Russian armed forces completed their tasks on Snake Island and withdrew a garrison stationed there.”
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However, during a social media update on Thursday, Ukraine’s military wrote: “Unable to withstand the impact of our artillery, missile and aviation units, the Russian occupiers have left Snake Island. The Odesa region is completely liberated”.
The announcement came after Ukraine troops on Snake Island carried out several raids on Russian forces.
In response, Valeriy Zaluzhny, the Ukraine military’s commander-in-chief, said: “I thank the defenders of Odessa region who took maximum measures to liberate a strategically important part of our territory.
“Unable to withstand the fire of our artillery, missile and air strikes, the occupiers left Snake Island.”
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