“The main objectives of the first phase of the operation were generally achieved,” said Sergei Rudskoy, first deputy of the Russian General Staff.
It’s not clear what those goals were, but he added that it “allows us to focus our core efforts on achieving the main goal, the liberation of Donbass.”
With fighting in the north at a standstill, recasting the war is primarily a fight for the Donbass region — much of which has already been under the control of Russian-backed separatists since Moscow first invaded in 2014 major recalibration of the maximalist regime change goals of President Vladimir Putin in the early days of the conflict.
“We believe they are trying to cut off Donbass territory,” a senior defense official told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday, “they are putting their priorities and their efforts in eastern Ukraine, and there’s a lot of heavy fighting left there.”
Fighting in Donbass in the east and south of the country was fierce, tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops withstood attacks from several fronts. Known as the Joint Forces Operation, these forces are slowly being encircled by Russian forces that have made small but steady gains in days of bitter fighting.
But the stalled Russian offensive north and west of Kyiv has been a major headache for the Kremlin, leading to Russian troops digging into defensive positions while they sit and wait for supplies and support, a possible sign of a longer campaign than before probably envisaged by the Kremlin.
The Russian Defense Ministry on Friday noted that 1,351 soldiers were killed and 3,825 injured in Ukraine.
Some of that support may come from Russian troops stationed in Georgia, which Russia also invaded in 2008 and maintains a militarized presence in two secessionist areas, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The US official confirmed reports of Russian troops advancing in Georgia.
It would be the first time Russia has sent more troops to Ukraine than the 150,000 it had amassed at the country’s borders before the Feb. 24 invasion, another indication the Kremlin is rethinking how it fights and the increased war effort.
As Russian commanders look for ways to reinforce their ground forces, focus on the Donbass and clear out resistance in the besieged port city of Mariupol, reports indicate that the Ukrainians have launched a fresh counterattack in the southern port city of Kherson. one of the urban areas first surrounded by Russian forces in the early days of the war.
It’s not clear how big the offensive is, but it could only create a new problem for already overstretched Russian forces on the ground struggling to consolidate gains.
https://www.politico.com/news/2022/03/25/russia-kyiv-offensive-ukraine-counterattack-00020622?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Russia’s offensive in Kyiv falters as Ukrainians counterattack in the south