For months, the war in Ukraine has been an interplay of opposites. On the one hand, Ukraine is more and more victorious on the battlefield, most recently conquering more territories. The attack on the Kerch Bridge between Russia and occupied Ukrainian Crimea was also a success because Russia's supply lines to the south of the front remain cut off while the rail line is faulty.
On the other hand, Russia still has the ability to inflict a great deal of suffering on Ukraine, as shown by the illegal attacks on Ukrainian cities and electricity supply in recent days.
It's not enough to win anymore because the Russian military is exhausted and has been outmaneuvered by the Ukrainians. But Russia still has enough means for wanton destruction, even if it doesn't make any sense militarily and doesn't change anything on the front line.
A new Ukrainian victory is now emerging there. The area occupied by Russia in the south west of the Dnipro River has been shrinking bit by bit for weeks, and it is clear that the Russian bridgehead in Cherson will sooner or later fall.
The Russian occupation commissioner from Cherson therefore ordered the evacuation of up to 60,000 civilians. The new commander-in-chief of the Russian war also seems to be preparing his compatriots for giving up the city. A withdrawal would make military sense for Russia before its own troops are wiped out there. Politically, that would be another blow to Putin.
On Wednesday, he also imposed martial law on the areas occupied and illegally annexed by Russia - as if that would change anything about the terror regime that Russia has been operating there for months and sometimes years. However, neither the Russian orgy of destruction nor martial law can hide the basic fact these days: Russia is on the losing road and can no longer win this war.