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Winter’s approach sets the clocks ticking for Ukraine and Russia

The onset of fall weather, with rains making fields too muddy for tanks, is beginning to hamper Ukraine’s efforts to regain more Russian-held territory before winter closes. across battlefields, a Washington-based think tank said Sunday.

Meanwhile, Russia has been pressuring hundreds of thousands of people to join the seven-month war, seeking to reverse recent losses. Ukrainian authorities said they also deployed suicide drones on Sunday against the Ukrainian port city of Odesa. No immediate casualties were reported.

The Russian campaign – called for the first time since World War II – is sparking protests in Russian cities, with new protests on Sunday.

It is also opening up divisions in Europe over whether fugitive combat-age Russian men should be welcomed or rejected.

For Ukrainian and Russian military planners, the clocks are ticking, with the approach of winter expected to complicate fighting. Rainy weather is causing the mud to begin to limit the maneuverability of tanks and other heavy weapons, according to the Institute for the Study of War, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

However, the team says Ukrainian forces are still gaining ground in their counterattack, which was deployed in late August, which spectacularly repelled the Russian occupation across the region. vast in the northeast and this also prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to increase reinforcements.

The partial mobilization has caused an exodus of men seeking to evade drafts – and stark differences of opinion in Europe on how to deal with them.

Lithuania, a member state of the European Union that borders Kaliningrad, an area in Russia’s Baltic Sea, said it would not grant them asylum. “The Russians should stay and fight. Against Putin,” Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis wrote on Twitter.

His counterpart in Latvia, also an EU member and bordering Russia, said the exodus posed a “significant security risk” to the 27-nation bloc and that fugitives could not be admitted. considered as dedicated opponents of the invasion.

Many were “okay with killing Ukrainians, they didn’t object after that,” Latvia’s foreign minister, Edgars Rinkevics, wrote on Twitter. He added that they have “a lot of countries outside the EU to go to.”

However, officials in other EU countries say Europe has a duty to help and fear that turning its back on the Russians could fall into Putin’s hands, given his narrative that the West has always hated the Russians. hate the Russians and the war is being waged to defend their country against the Hostility of the West.

“Closing our borders would not be in line with our values ​​nor our interests,” a group of 40 powerful senators in France said in a statement. They called on the EU to grant asylum to Russians fleeing the campaign, arguing that turning against them would be “a European mistake in the ongoing war of media and influence.”

Mobilization is also taking place along with votes held by the Kremlin in the four occupied regions of Ukraine that could pave the way for their imminent annexation to Russia.

Ukraine and its Western allies say that the referendums in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south and the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk have no legal force. Votings were due to end on Tuesday but are being dismissed in Ukraine and the West as a sham, with footage showing armed Russian troops going door to door to pressure citizens. Ukraine votes.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Reintegration said that Russia sent people from Belarus, Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, Syria, Togo, Uruguay and Venezuela as external observers. The ministry warned that they “will be punished,” without specifying how.

In cities across Russia, police arrested hundreds of people who protested against the order to mobilize. Women who opposed the call protested Sunday in the Siberian city of Yakutsk. Videos shared by local media showed a crowd of several hundred people, mostly women, holding hands and marching in a circle around a group of policemen. Police then dragged some people away or forced them into police cars. The SakhaDay news website said the women chanted pacifist slogans and songs.

At least 2,000 people have been arrested in recent days for similar protests across the country. Many of those taken away immediately received summons.

The other Russians are reporting for the mission. Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the order applies to reservists who are new to service or have special skills, but most men are considered reservists until the age of 65 and identity. Putin’s command opened the door to a broader call.

The Kremlin says its initial goal was to add some 300,000 troops to its forces in Ukraine, which are grappling with equipment losses, rising casualties and waning morale. The troop mobilization marks a dramatic change from Putin’s previous attempts to portray the war as a limited military operation that would not affect the lives of most Russians.

This call comes with stiffer penalties for Russian soldiers who disobey their officers’ orders, desert or surrender to the enemy. Putin signed those measures into law on Saturday.

The Ukrainian government stopped allowing most men between the ages of 18-60 to leave the country shortly after the February 24 invasion of Russia under a general mobilization order to build a strong 1 million-strong army.

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