Vladimir Putin humiliated as Russian cities ‘cancel’ New Year’s due to war cost

Fireworks displays across several Russian cities have been cancelled as Vladimir Putin’s forces flounder in Ukraine, according to Radio Free Europe.

The outlet reported that officials in several major cities pledged to scrap traditional holiday festivities and will instead use the money to purchase military equipment for Russian forces in Ukraine.

The news comes as thousands of Russian soldiers – reportedly 11,000 last month, according to a Ukrainian official – die on the front amid huge assaults in the east of Ukraine.

Russia’s largest cities, Moscow and St Petersburg, have cancelled fireworks displays while Andrey Kravchenko, the mayor of Novorossiysk, also said his city would scrap fireworks and decorations.

Vladimir Putin is planning to spend about a third of Russia’s budget on the military amid crippling Western sanctions and soaring inflation putting immense strain on the economy.

Sochi Mayor Alexey Kopaygorodsky also ordered fireworks displays cancelled claiming they were a “minute but expensive” pleasure.

He encouraged Russian families to follow suit writing on Telegram, he said: “This will be the best gift for our fellow countrymen on the front line of a special military operation and their families.”

Similar measures were taken last year with several Russian cities cancelling celebrations.

The news comes amid plummeting support for the Ukraine war in Russia ahead of a presidential election Putin said would take place on March 17, 2024.

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In October, for the first time since the war began, the majority of Russians – 74 percent – would be happy if Putin signed a peace deal with Ukraine immediately, according to a Russian Field’s poll cited by The Economist.

It also found that Russians were firmly against another mobilisation – despite this Putin has just called for another 170,000 troops to be added to the armed forces.

Another opinion poll by the independent pollster Chronicle showed that Russian support for Putin’s war in Ukraine has halved since early 2023 – with elections coming up in 2024, this could spell trouble for the dictator.

Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine has not gone well. What was supposed to be a three-day operation to topple the government in Kyiv has become a nearly two-year-long bloody conflict that has seen tens, more likely hundreds, of thousands of casualties for Moscow’s forces.

While elections in Russia are unsurprisingly not seen as free and fair, they serve an important role for Putin to shore up support within his country.

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