A weekend Wall Street Journal report said that Russia’s apparent decision to “change its Ukraine war plan” underscores Moscow’s efforts to protect territory close to its borders. “This is a larger story than anyone has seen.
Sergei Rudskoy of the Russian General Staff, Moscow’s official Russia-24 propaganda outlet stated that “our forces will concentrate on our primary goal: complete liberation in Donbas”.
Rudskoy’s statement was reported more by NBC News. Rudskoy stated that Ukraine’s fighting ability has been “significantly reduced” and added that this makes it possible “once again to focus the main efforts towards achieving our main objective — the liberation of Donbas. ”
The Donbas (also known as Donets Basin) is Ukraine’s eastern region that is rich in energy. The area is home to large numbers of ethnic Russians.
Rudskoy isn’t very logical. Why didn’t the Russian Army immediately focus on the Donbas “liberation”?
The concentrated invasion of the Donbas by overwhelming force may have been an imitation of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s 2014 annexation. Moscow was able to present the result quickly to the world without triggering a long war or crippling sanctions.
Russia opened up the door to Ukraine with a high-risk strategy that used its best troops in order to secure Kyiv. Russia claims it has greater ambitions than grabbing a small part of Ukraine’s eastern border.
Rudskoy tacitly admitted that Putin had dramatically reduced his war goals. Russia’s invasion on the full scale is over a month old, but it hasn’t been very effective.
Tyler Rogoway, of The Drive, stated last week that Russia had “already lost.” It was nearly impossible to see Russia getting a positive result in its actions in Ukraine. But it is essential to immediately find a way to end or freeze the conflict. I have been advising President Putin for weeks to find the ramp.
According to the Journal, Moscow’s increased attention to Donbas is due to Ukrainian forces regaining ground in an area where Russian troops had some success following the invasion.
According to ISW, the daily Ukraine War assessment by ISW — an invaluable resource — indicated that Russian efforts to replace combat casualties in EMD units and send reinforcements forward “are unlikely” to allow Russia to resume major operations around Kyiv in the near future. ”
The IWS report states that “The increasing static nature of the fighting around Kyiv is not a reflection in Russian goals and efforts, but rather the incapacity of Russian troops. ”
Rudskoy’s statement can be difficult to comprehend, but it is hard to see the current redeployments to Kyiv as more than an admission from Moscow that they have significantly reduced their war aims. Politics can be half the work of politics. But war is about getting the best before everything collapses.
Rudskoy’s Friday declaration could be read with all the usual caveats about the fog of war and the Kremlin’s habitual opacity to indicate that Moscow is open for negotiations on terms already in principle agreed by Kyiv.
Is this true? Where is the US State Department? Where is the American president?