Putin Faces Military Setbacks and Disunity

Drones have exploded over the Kremlin. Russian military aircraft are crashing before they even reach Ukrainian airspace. A Russian mercenary boss is releasing one profanity-laced tirade after another, claiming that corrupt Russian generals who “all reek of expensive perfume” are sending soldiers to their deaths.

And Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive hasn’t even started in earnest.

These would seem to be bad weeks for President Vladimir V. Putin, a time when the problems that have plagued his 15-month war since its beginning are only worsening: stretched resources, disorganized defenses and disunity in the ranks.

Those problems are now threatening to derail what just weeks ago had seemed finally to be a rare military success in Russia’s grasp: victory in the long-running, bloody battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

Russian forces, while still fighting fiercely within the city limits, have retreated from positions on the edges of Bakhmut and according to…

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This article was written by Paul Sonne and Anton Troianovski and originally published on www.nytimes.com