The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has asserted that the main tasks of the first stage of the combat operation in Ukraine have been completed.
The first stage involved weakening the combat potential of the Ukrainian Army. The next stage will focus on the “liberation of Donbass.”
On Friday, state-controlled media quoted Sergei Rudskoy, head of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation as saying: “In general, the main tasks of the first stage of the operation have been completed. The combat potential of the armed forces of Ukraine has been significantly reduced, which allows, I emphasize once again, to focus the main efforts on achieving the main goal – the liberation of Donbass.”
Pentagon Assessment matches Russian MoD claims
“It’s interesting that the bulk of [Russian] air activity is really only Kyiv, Chernihiv — which remains a very bloody fight — and then the Donbass,” a Pentagon official said during a background briefing Friday. “That’s where we’re seeing the air activity. So again, all of that sort of reinforces this idea that, at least for the moment, they don’t appear to want to pursue Kyiv as aggressively or frankly at all. They are mostly focused on the Donbass.”
“It appears that the Russians are, at least for the moment, not pursuing … a ground offensive towards Kyiv,” the official said. “They are digging in. They are establishing defensive positions. They don’t show any signs of being willing to move on Kyiv from the ground.”