Putin Says War In Ukraine Just Beginning

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As his onslaught looked to be faltering in the country’s east on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin ominously cautioned that Russian soldiers haven’t yet begun fighting in earnest in Ukraine.

The remarks were made only a few days after Lysychansk, one of the two Ukrainian provinces that make up the industrial Donbas area, was seized by Russian forces, along with all of Luhansk. The city’s conquest helped Moscow go closer to its stated objective of conquering the Donbas, which it has declared to be independent of Kiev.

However, Russian triumphs in the Donbas have been expensive, and Russian gains are starting to stall.

As his onslaught looked to be faltering in the country’s east on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin ominously cautioned that Russian soldiers haven’t yet begun fighting in earnest in Ukraine.

The remarks were made only a few days after Lysychansk, one of the two Ukrainian provinces that make up the industrial Donbas area, was seized by Russian forces, along with all of Luhansk. The city’s conquest helped Moscow go closer to its stated objective of conquering the Donbas, which it has declared to be independent of Kiev.

However, Russian triumphs in the Donbas have been expensive, and Russian gains are starting to stall.

Since the beginning of the war, the Russian Defense Ministry has reported territorial gains every day, but since Lysychansk was completely encircled on July 3, no new territory nor ground force movements have been reported, according to the institute.

Russian activities, according to analysts at the think tank, are consistent with an operational pause on major movements, and Russian forces are likely to limit their offensive operations to relatively small-scale ones as they work to rehabilitate their offensive capabilities following weeks of arduous combat.

Large portions of Ukrainian land have been captured by Russia, but the gains came at a cost of a four-month conflict characterized by logistical mishaps, a withdrawal from the Ukrainian capital, and the loss of a Russian Navy flagship.

In the bluster of his statement on Thursday, Putin seemed to reopen the possibility of a peaceful resolution to the situation.

At the same time this week, Ukrainian leaders established a high standard for talks with the Kremlin, buoyed by the arrival of Western weaponry and news of Russian military casualties.

The chief negotiator for Kyiv, Mykhailo Podolyak, listed a number of requirements on Twitter in order to get his team back to the negotiating table.

“Ceasefire. Russian troops withdrawal. Returning of kidnapped citizens. Extradition of war criminals. Reparations mechanism. Ukraine’s sovereign rights recognition,” he stated.

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