The United States assured on Monday that Russia is “reviewing its objectives” in the war in Ukraine and plans to focus on the east and part of the south instead of trying to invade the entire country, and anticipates that the new phase of the conflict will be “long “.
This was stated by Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser to the president of the United States, Joe Biden, who also confirmed that Washington will impose new sanctions against Moscow this week for the alleged massacre carried out by Russian troops in Bucha.
“We believe that Russia is reviewing its war objectives, they are repositioning their forces to concentrate their offensive operations in eastern Ukraine and part of the south, instead of attacking most of the territory,” Sullivan told a news conference.
Biden’s adviser attributed this alleged change in Russian strategy to the fact that the Ukrainian military and civilians have defended their country “exceptionally well” since the Kremlin has realized that “the West is not going to break” in its support for Ukraine.
“Everything indicates that Russia will try to surround and overwhelm the Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine,” Sullivan stressed, predicting a movement of Russian troops from the north to “the region surrounding Donbas in the east” of the country.
To “protect any territory” it seizes in the east, Russia could extend its military presence “beyond Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts” into other nearby areas of Ukraine, and the north is likely to “keep pressure on Kharkiv” following its withdrawal from Kiev, he explained.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby added in another press conference that for now, everything indicates that the Russian soldiers who withdrew last week from the vicinity of Kyiv have moved north, towards Belarus, but that it is likely that when those troops are resupplied, they move to the Donbas.
In the south, Sullivan predicted that the Russian troops “will do everything possible to try to hold the city of Kherson”, to continue controlling the water supply to the Crimean peninsula, and “try to block Mikolaiv”, so that the Ukrainian troops do not They can take back Jershon.
Russia “will probably continue to launch air and missile attacks on the rest of the country” to cause economic damage and “cause terror”, something that could affect cities such as Kiev, Odessa, Kharkiv, and Lviv, because the Russian objective is to “weaken everything possible to Ukraine,” he said.
“The next phase in this conflict is very likely to be a long one. We should not be deceived that Russia will adjust its tactics, which have included and likely will continue to include brazen and senseless attacks on civilian targets,” Sullivan said.
He also warned that if Russia succeeds in its offensive in the east, it could “regenerate its forces” and set new goals, such as “trying to control even more territory within Ukraine. “
He recalled that Moscow “still has more soldiers available” than Ukraine and that it is now concentrating them “on fewer lines of attack”, but said that this does not mean that it will prevail in the east of the country because so far, the Ukrainian forces have “done an extraordinary job”.