Western officials say Russia can still win in Ukraine despite setbacks

Russian President Vladimir Putin could still win in Ukraine despite failing his pre-war goals, Western officials said on Thursday, adding that Russia had resolved some of the issues that had hampered it earlier in the invasion. .

Russia invaded Ukraine two months ago and in recent weeks has refocused on the east of the country after failing to capture the capital kyiv. “Putin has clearly failed to achieve his original pre-war goals, but he still has the potential to win,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

The official said that the success for Russia could be the consolidation of Russian control over Donbass and the creation of a land bridge with Crimea, and in what he described as a worst-case scenario, there could be a new attack on Kyiv. The official added that despite these possible outcomes, the invasion of Ukraine would remain a strategic mistake for Russia, given the substantial losses suffered by its army, the stubborn resistance of Ukraine and the way the war changed Europe’s security architecture to the detriment of Russia.

“It was a strategic mistake for Russia,” he said. Another official said Russia had begun to address some of the issues that had hampered its army at the start of the invasion, but the way the forces were maneuvering, often in long columns, still caused them problems.

“Command and control has become more efficient…clearly they are smarter in how they use drones and integrate them into their forces as they move forward, and how they use artillery “, said the official. “We haven’t seen them improve the way they maneuver yet, although when they engage their forces in combat they are a bit more united.”

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