Andrew Neil brilliantly pinpoints Putin’s new plans as initial goal ‘fails’ | World | News

The renowned political journalist said the changes brought back memories of previous conflicts – specifically World War 2 and the Korean War. When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, it did so on multiple axes. Moscow’s army attacked from the north towards Kyiv, from the east and the south.

Many analysts suggested Vladimir Putin’s ultimate goal was the complete domination of Ukraine and regime change.

However, Russian forces have encountered fierce and brave resistance from their Ukrainian opponents, suffering high casualties in the process

This appears to have prompted a rethink by Russia’s General Staff, as Mr Neil was quick to point out.

He wrote: “Military analysts increasingly sure Russia shifting focus to securing eastern Ukraine after failing to take Kyiv and other major cities.

“Ukraine now worried Russia will try to split the country between regions it controls and those it does not, like Germany and Korea after WW2.”

He added: “That said, large explosions in Kyiv this morning + Russian forces active on roads + key towns to the east/northwest of capital.

“Russian navy continues blockade of Black Sea coast, firing missiles at various targets throughout Ukraine. Mariupol could fall this week.”

Last week, the Kremlin said it had successfully completed the first stage of its military campaign in Ukraine.

A spokesperson said Moscow would now focus its efforts on “liberating” the Donbas.

Western military experts said this shift suggested Putin had been forced to scale back his initial plans due to the poor performance of his army.

The Russians have so far only succeeded in capturing one major city – Kherson in the south.

READ MORE: Have Your Say: Is Britain showing up EU over Ukraine?

On Sunday, Ukraine’s intelligence chief said Russia is aiming to split the country in two and to create a similar division that exists between North and South Korea.

This raises the prospect of a long and bitter frozen conflict.

Referring to the Kremlin’s statement, General Kyrylo Budanov said: “It is an attempt to create North and South Korea in Ukraine.”

His comments came as Leonid Pasechnik, the leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, suggested a referendum would be held on whether his breakaway region should join Russia.

He said: “I think that in the near future a referendum will be held on the territory of the republic, during which the people will … express their opinion on joining the Russian Federation.”

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The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said currently there is no concrete evidence Russia had abandoned its initial campaign goals.

It noted the Russian army is reconstituting its forces northwest of Kyiv in order to resume major offensives.

The security analysts also suggested the commander of Russia’s Eastern Military District (EMD) is personally commanding operations.

They wrote: “The increasingly static nature of the fighting around Kyiv reflects the incapacity of Russian forces rather than any shift in Russian objectives or efforts at this time.”

In conclusion, they said that, although Russian forces had made some progress in taking Mariupol, their assaults had “largely failed elsewhere in the past 24 hours”.

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