Moscow concludes the first phase of the invasion of Ukraine and lowers its military objectives

Russia ended the first phase of its invasion of Ukrainein what is interpreted as an acknowledgment that it has not been able to achieve the objectives that were set at the beginning of the military operations.

Sergey Rudskoy, head of the main operational department of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, assured this Friday that, a month after the start of the invasion, they will focus their efforts on the “complete liberation” of the Donbas region, in the east. from the country.

He also said they had considered two options for their “special military operation” (as Moscow calls the invasion): one covering all of Ukraine and one focused on Donbas.

Rudskoy assured that 93% of Luhansk and 54% of Donetsk, both in the Donbas region and which Putin recognized as independent republics just over a month ago, are under Russian control.

Rudskoy’s comments, published by Russian state news agencies, point to a possible reduction of Russia’s war goalsafter the forces from moscow hayan encountered strong resistance in northern Ukraine and around kyivthe capital.

According to Rudskoy, Russia has destroyed the vast majority of Ukraine’s air force and navy, marking “the successful end” of the first phase of the conflict.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not rule out storming Ukrainian cities that have been blockaded and said Russia would immediately react to any move to close airspace over Ukraine, something Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called for.

He also said that they would continue with the invasion until achieve the goals set by Putinwithout specifying what those goals were.

This Friday, for the second time since the beginning of the invasion, the Russian Defense Ministry gave an update on your military dischargesstating that 1,351 of its soldiers have been killed and 3,825 have been wounded.

Ukrainian military sources have previously estimated that up to 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, although this figure may include wounded and dead. US intelligence suggests the figure may be half that number.

Analysis by Paul Adams, BBC diplomatic correspondent

Russia says the “first phase” of what it calls its “special military operation” has been mostly completed and will now focus on “the liberation of Donbas.”

This is likely to mean a more concerted effort to go beyond the “contact line” that separates Ukrainian government-controlled territory in the country’s east and the Russian-backed breakaway “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Western officials believe the announcement implies that Moscow knows that its strategy has failed.

“Russia is recognizing that it cannot conduct its operations on multiple axes simultaneously,” an official said.

Western officials have been concerned for some time that Russia is trying to encircle Ukraine’s best combat units, which are stationed along the line of contact.

If more Russian firepower, particularly air power, is concentrated in eastern Ukraine, those concerns will grow.

“I hope that is where Western arms supplies will make a significant contribution to the Ukrainian forces,” an official said.

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