Zelensky meets with historian as Russian troops flee Ukraine's push to the Black Sea
Volodymyr Zelensky / Office of the President of Ukraine

The president of Ukraine met with a historian as his troops gained major ground against invading Russian forces.

As Russia's Vladimir Putin opened an enormous Ferris wheel in Moscow, Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky met with Yale historian and fascism expert Timothy Snyder, author of the 2017 book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.

"The Ukrainian army is undertaking a stunningly intelligent counteroffensive, and the Ukrainian president helps me with my book about the philosophy of freedom," Snyder wrote, posting a photo of him talking to the Ukrainian leader.

Snyder is the author of a new piece published in the September/October edition of Foreign Affairs titled, "Ukraine Holds the Future: The War Between Democracy and Nihilism."

"Russia, an aging tyranny, seeks to destroy Ukraine, a defiant democracy. A Ukrainian victory would confirm the principle of self-rule, allow the integration of Europe to proceed, and empower people of goodwill to return reinvigorated to other global challenges. A Russian victory, by contrast, would extend genocidal policies in Ukraine, subordinate Europeans, and render any vision of a geopolitical European Union obsolete," Snyder wrote. "This war, in other words, is about establishing principles for the twenty-first century. It is about policies of mass death and about the meaning of life in politics. It is about the possibility of a democratic future."

The piece ended by saying peace may be possible, "but only if the Ukrainians can fight their way back to the sea."

Dr. Mike Martin, a visiting fellow at the Department of War Studies at King's College London, discussed the movement of the Ukrainian vanguard and wrote, "looks like they might be headed for the Black Sea coast."

The dynamics of the war appeared shift significantly on Saturay.

"A lightning Ukrainian offensive in the country’s northeast has reshaped what had become a grinding war of attrition. In a matter of days, Russian front lines have buckled, Moscow’s troops have fled and one village after another has come once more beneath Ukraine’s yellow and blue banner," The New York Times reported. "Ukrainian officials said on Saturday that their troops had taken the eastern city of Izium, a strategically important railway hub that Russian forces seized in the spring after a bloody, weekslong battle."

Zelensky has said Ukraine has reclaimed 2,000 square kilometers this month.

"Ukraine’s capture of Izium could represent a turning point in the war, dwarfed only by Russia’s humiliating defeat around the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in the spring," the newspaper reported. "The successful Ukrainian offensive, which began this past week near Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, serves as a testament to the endurance of Ukrainian troops and, once more, the shortcomings of the Russian war machine."