Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently expanded his command to fight against Ukraine, refusing to allow Russian troops to retreat from Kherson.

(Associated Press)

[Compiled by Sun Yuqing/Comprehensive Report] The US "New York Times" quoted US officials as saying on the 23rd that as the Russian army has been retreating in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks, President Putin himself has been more directly involved in combat plans, including to avoid short-term For the second time in Nei, he lost an important stronghold and refused the request of the Russian commander of Kherson to withdraw.

However, Putin played more guidance games, and the differences with senior commanders became more clear, which brought hidden worries to the subsequent performance of the Russian army.

The New York Times pointed out that the Ukrainian army has recovered large areas of lost land in the northeastern Kharkiv state since this month, which has made Moscow authorities admit that the Russian army has faced a shortage of personnel and high-tech precision weapons, as well as the inability to grasp air superiority and other difficulties, and Putin also At the suggestion of the military commander, the local mobilization of 300,000 civilians was announced.

However, U.S. officials briefed on sensitive intelligence further pointed out that Putin’s role is now deeper, and he has even made it clear to commanders that he has the final say in strategic decisions on the battlefield.

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For example, Putin refused to approve the request of the Russian army in the important port city of Wunan to withdraw to the east bank of the Dnieper River on the grounds of preserving equipment and manpower, because this means that the Russian army once again swallowed an embarrassing defeat after losing Kharkov.

Kherson was the first major city captured by the Russian army after the invasion of Ukraine, and it is also the only state capital still under the control of the Russian army.

A senior U.S. official said that the Ukrainian army now seems to have the opportunity to replicate the results of the counter-offensive in the northeast in the south; once the Russian army is successfully pushed back, the land corridor from the eastern Donbas to the Crimea peninsula that Putin desperately built will be destroyed. will be threatened.

Putin's decision not only caused a major blow to the morale of the Kherson Russian army, whose supply lines had mostly been cut off, but also once again highlighted the contradiction between Putin and senior commanders.

In fact, as early as the beginning of the war, senior Russian officials had pointed out that the Russian army was insufficient in soldiers and weapons, and Putin’s plan to quickly seize Kyiv might fail; After the senior generals were changed to formulate and execute large-scale bombing operations, the Russian army did take advantage of its advantages and attacked the city and swept the land in Wudong.

In the face of the Ukrainian army this time, the Russian army commander believed that withdrawing from Kherson first would allow the Russian army to reserve the leeway to redeploy to other places, and even to re-establish the front line in the south in the future, but Putin only expressed himself. strategy will be set.

U.S. officials speculate that, as anti-war voices in Russia grow stronger and young men flee the country to avoid conscription, Putin believes that allowing the Ukrainian army to win will only further destroy popular support for the war.

Michael Kofman, a Russian military expert at the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA), a US think tank, said that there has always been a gap between Putin's political goals and the Russian military's ability to achieve these goals. When major decisions need to be made, Putin often procrastinates and refuses to acknowledge reality until the options available get worse.