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Russia Signals Less Ambitious Goals in Ukraine War

Rogue Valley

Ruscism = Russian fascism
DP Veteran
Apr 18, 2013
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Russia has signalled it may dial back its war aims to focus on eastern Ukraine after failing to break the nation's resistance in a month of fighting and attacks on civilians, including up to 300 feared killed in the bombing of a theatre. The possible shift came ahead of a planned meeting by U.S. President Joe Biden with Ukrainian refugees in Poland and talks with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in Warsaw before he gives a speech on the "brutal war", the White House said. Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the February invasion to destroy Ukraine's military and topple pro-Western President Volodymyr Zelensky, bringing the country under Russia's sway. But Sergei Rudskoi, a senior general, suggested a considerably reduced "main goal" of controlling Donbas, an eastern region already partly held by Russian proxies. His surprise statement came as a Western official reported that a seventh Russian general, Lieutenant General Yakov Rezanstev, had died in Ukraine and that a colonel had been "deliberately" killed by his own demoralised men. Complicating Moscow's challenges, invasion troops were facing a counteroffensive in Kherson, the only major Ukrainian city under Russian control.

Russia's army was predicted by some to roll across Ukraine with little resistance. But Putin's military has exhibited poor discipline and morale, faulty equipment and tactics, as well as brutality toward civilians. Amid heavy censorship, Russian authorities Friday gave only their second official military death toll since the start of the invasion, at 1,351. This is far below Western estimates, with one senior NATO official saying between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers have died. Rudskoi's announcement of a pivot to the battle for eastern Ukraine was accompanied by claims of success. He said Ukraine's military has been severely degraded and that Russia hadn't seized cities to "prevent destruction and minimise losses among personnel and civilians". But his reference to plans for a "liberation" of the Donbas region could lay the groundwork for the Kremlin to focus on an easier campaign that can be sold to Russians as a victory. Meanwhile, Ukrainians are mounting an increasingly aggressive defence and in places taking back ground.

The Kremlin is trying to save some face here yet most people can see this for what it is: The Russian military has suffered horrendous losses and cannot hold Ukrainian cities.

Ukraine should continue fighting until all of its territory is liberated. It is especially important to retake the city of Mariupol and deny the Kremlin a land-bridge to Crimea.

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