Russia: NATO gaining more countries ‘bad for Putin’ says Jones
Russian forces were deployed to Ukraine on February 24 hoping to seize its capital, Kyiv, in a matter of “days”. Their aim was to install a puppet government to take control of the country. After months of fighting and increasing, unplanned resistance from Ukraine, Putin has had to launch a new plan to “demilitarise” Ukraine, with new areas of focus.
The Russian President’s original plan was said to involve four primary efforts; focus troops on seizing Kyiv, with supporting efforts to attack Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Kherson.
However, this objective appears to have been harder for Putin to achieve than expected, as Russian officials announced their retreat from Ukraine’s capital in early April.
This retreat, according to officials, was said to aid their renewed focus on the “complete liberation” of Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, where Russian proxy forces have held the territory since 2014.
Head of the Russian International Affairs Council, Andrei Kortunov, told the BBC: “Putin needs a victory… at least he needs something he can present to his constituency at home as a victory.”
Read More: Ukraine LIVE: Horror as Russian troops shoot unarmed civilians in back
Inside Putin’s five-point plan to seize Ukraine
What is Russia’s new five-point plan?
Russian forces are said to have a new plan of attack, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which is closely monitoring the invasion.
The plan involves:
Main effort – Capture eastern Ukraine
Subordinate main effort – Encircle Ukrainian troops in the cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast
Supporting effort 1 – Mariupol
Supporting effort 2 – Kharkiv City
Supporting effort 3 – Southern axis
Supporting effort 4 – Sumy and northeastern Ukraine
Russian officials announced their retreat from Ukraine’s capital in early April
Aside from Russia’s focus on capturing Donbas, Moscow is aiming to impede resistance with an increased concentration on encircling Ukrainian forces in the area between Izyum and Donetsk, and the Luhansk Oblast.
So far, Ukrainian forces have reportedly been successful in their defence in this area.
Deputy chief of Ukraine’s general staff, Oleksiy Gromov, stated that Russian forces have moved to act on defence and deterrence around Izyum instead.
Russian forces are also predicted to be preparing a new line of advancement towards Bakhmut, because of the continued lack of success in its ground assaults around Donetsk City.
Russia losing allies ‘in its own backyard’ [INSIGHT]
Russian soldiers open fire on defenceless civilians [VIDEO]
Why Sweden is lagging behind Finland in its bid to join Nato [EXPLAINED]
The second supporting effort remains to capture Mariupol and reduce Ukrainian defence.
Russian forces have been carrying out ground attacks around the Azovstal Steel Plant, with the support of a number of air and artillery strikes.
The ISW reports: “Advisor to the Mayor of Mariupol, Petro Andryushchenko, claimed that Russian authorities are deporting those who are deemed to be “suspicious” during filtration measures in Mariupol to a detention camp in Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast.”
Mr Andryushchenko is said to have compared the facility to a “concentration camp”, describing detainees to be subject to “overcrowding, atrocious conditions, mass interrogations, and forced disappearances”.
Russia has suffered heavy losses in the months since the invasion against Ukraine began
Although the Institute has said it can’t independently confirm the claims, they appear to be “in line with previously reported Russian ‘filtration’ measures in Ukraine.”
To capture Kharkiv City, Russia’s second supporting effort, Russian forces are reported to be maintaining a position on the outskirts of Kharkiv, with more of a core focus on preventing Ukrainian counterattacks.
The Ministry of Defence tweeted an update on Thursday saying: “Ukrainian forces are continuing to counter-attack to the north of Kharkiv, recapturing several towns and villages towards the Russian border.
“Russia’s prioritisation of operations in the Donbas has left elements deployed in the Kharkiv Oblast vulnerable to the mobile, and highly motivated, Ukrainian counter-attacking force.”
Russian forces have pulled back, but Putin has a plan to push into Ukraine again
Once Russian forces reconstitute after their reported withdrawal to the position of defence around the city, the MoD predicts forces will likely redeploy to the eastern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River.
From here, they’ll likely “form a blocking force to protect the western flank of Russia’s main force concentration and main supply routes for operations in the vicinity of Izium.”
The MoD continued: “The withdrawal of Russian forces from the Kharkiv Oblast is a tacit recognition of Russia’s inability to capture key Ukrainian cities where they expected limited resistance.”
Having already seized Kherson, Russian forces are taking on more of a position of defence here in its third supporting effort.
Kherson was one of the first major cities in Ukraine to fall into Russia’s hands. Since capturing the city in March, Russia has so far dismissed the elected mayor and replaced him with a pro-Russian administration.
Ukrainian television programmes have been blocked, and the new administration is also trying to phase out the Ukrainian currency to introduce the Russian Ruble in its place.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has warned residents Russia aims to hold a referendum in the region to decide whether it will, like Donbas, become a “people’s republic”.
In a supposed confirmation of this, Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of Kherson’s Moscow-installed administration, said: “There will be a request to make Kherson region a full subject of the Russian Federation.”
Russia’s fourth supporting effort in Sumy and northeastern Ukraine is said to have the objective to withdraw combat power in order to redeploy in eastern Ukraine.
This effort would boost troop numbers in the south to build a stronger force against unwavering Ukrainian resistance.