Putin humiliated as blitzkrieg plans collapse – Moscow faced with more ‘months’ of war

Russians won't give up until they've taken Donetsk says expert

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Russian soldiers are scrambling to make further advances into Ukraine after they took full control of the Luhansk province. After failing in their operation to invade the whole of Ukraine in the first stages of the war, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has redirected troops to the Donbas region where Russian troops had until now failed to make significant inroads. Now that troops have almost conquered the Russian-backed separatist province of Luhansk, Russians have their eyes set on the Donetsk province.

However, their operations could get bogged down in the face of Ukrainian resistance, a Major General said.

When asked about how it will take for Russian troops to occupy Donetsk, General Cross said: “I would say a couple of months.”

Times Radio’s host Mariella Frostrup noted: “That’s quite a long time.”

Mr Cross said: “Yeah. Yeah, it is but it’s a heck of a slogging match. You know, the war started with an attempt to undertake a sort of manoeuvre warfare – what we would call in today’s jargon manoeuvre warfare.”

“But it’s changed into attrition and very slow-moving,” Mr Cross noted. “I mean, some people have likened it to World War One. I think that’s an exaggeration, to be honest. But nonetheless, what’s going on is the typical Russian way of doing business.

“They’re using about 20,000 rounds of ammunition a day, artillery ammunition a day. And their way of operating is, you know, to destroy and then just move in slowly and begin to inch their way forward. And that’s what’s happening.

“And the Ukrainians are taking serious casualties. And they have recognised the reality of that. And they are now withdrawing to take up other positions. But they’re still trying to fight a dogged and determined defensive operation.”

Mr Cross continued: “And I don’t think the Russians are going to give up on this till they’ve taken Donetsk and the whole of this region. And the question then is what happens then? They haven’t said that they’re not still trying to take the whole of Ukraine.

“So, the move up to Odessa and the north of the Black Sea is still on, I think. My sense is that they probably will be prepared to think about negotiating once they’ve secured the Donbas.”

As Russian troops are edging closer to capturing the whole of Luhansk, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said his troops had “no alternative” but to “push back” and “destroy the offensive potential” of Russian forces.

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The epicentre of the war has now shifted from the city of Lysychansk to the cities of Bakhumt and Sloviansk – both cities are closer to the border with Donetsk.

The Luhansk governor said Ukrainian forces are prepared to hold the line and fend off any Russian offensive. 

In a televised address, Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian soldiers on “liberating” Luhansk and said they should sleep.

The slow-moving Russian invasion has come with heavy casualties on the Russian side estimated at tens of thousands.

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