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Some insight from western officials obtained by the Guardian's defence editor, Dan Sabbagh:

Western officials believe that Russia's retreat from around Kyiv and the north east of the country is now "largely complete" and that it will take "at least a week" before reconstituted units could go to Donbas and perhaps longer given how many losses they have suffered in the war so far.

The officials believe that the Kremlin wants to see some kind of victory in the eastern Donbas region in time for Russia's traditional Victory Day parade on 9 May, an important date in the country's military calendar.

One official said that Putin will want to have an "announceable success" by then, which could create "some tension" with Russian commanders as to "what they want to do in the military terms".

This means that exhausted Russian forces are likely to be thrown into battle fairly soon in an attempt to gain ground in the east.

The belief is that Russia will prioritise capturing the entirety of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, or seek to create a land bridge to Crimea or both, with Russia "reshaping its narrative" so it can redefine its idea of victory.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Apr 6th, 2022 at 04:19:10 PM EST
However the original objective was to capture Kyiv and overthrow the government. Capturing Donbass is, at best a fallback strategy and consolation prize. Depending on how well the Ukrainians are armed, gaining and holding territory there could be at least as costly as trying to capture Kyiv, although the supply chains may be somewhat shorter.  As every day passes, the momentum swings to Ukraine and becomes more difficult to reverse. Capturing and holding territory is a lot ore difficult than shelling cities from afar.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Apr 6th, 2022 at 08:26:38 PM EST
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