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Article by 24/7 News

MOSCOW — There’s growing concern about the direction of Russia’s war in Ukraine after Vladimir Putin’s forces were handed an apparent defeat and one of his key allies backed the use of nuclear weapons.

Just one day after the Russian leader announced the annexation of four regions in Ukraine, Ukrainian forces said they’d taken back a key city in one of them.

That led Russia’s defense ministry to announce Saturday that it was pulling troops out of the area.

It also led to the leader of Russia’s southern Chechnya region to say that “more drastic measures should be taken, right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons.”

General David Petraeus says Russian President Putin faces an “irreversible situation” in Ukraine. Appearing on ABC’s This Week, the retired general said that Russia would just “continue to lose” and that Putin’s recent annexation of parts of Eastern Ukraine is evidence of his desperation. Petraeus also expressed optimism that if wasn’t a matter of if, but when larger Russian units would crumble and surrender.

Former national security advisor H.R. McMaster says “deterrence by denial” was a failure on the part of the U.S. prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The retired Lieutenant General, who served in the Trump administration, told CBS’s Face the Nation many of the actions taken in the months before the war may have even “green lighted” it.

McMaster said he thinks the Biden administration has recovered from the blunder, but added now is the time to lift restrictions on sending long-range weapons and other military aid to Ukraine.