UK Officials Spot Russia's 'Tacit Admission' It's Struggling In Ukraine

The ministry of defence's update followed Russia's promise to withdraw in two major regions of Ukraine.
Ukrainian service members walk on the front line near Kyiv as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues on Tuesday.
Ukrainian service members walk on the front line near Kyiv as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues on Tuesday.
Gleb Garanich via Reuters

Russian forces appears to have conceded that its strategy to overwhelm the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has so far failed, according to British intelligence.

The ministry of defence tweeted on Wednesday morning: “Russian units suffering heavy losses have been forced to return to Belarus and Russia to reorganise and resupply.

“Such activity is placing further pressure on Russia’s already strained logistics and demonstrates the difficulties Russia is having reorganising its units in forward areas within Ukraine.

“Russia will likely continue to compensate for its reduced ground manoeuvre capability through mass artillery and missile strikes.

“Russia’s stated focus on an offensive in Donetsk and Luhansk is likely a tacit admission that it is struggling to sustain more than one significant axis of advance.”

The update comes after Russia announced it would “drastically reduce combat areas” both around Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, two areas where its troops have struggled to gain any ground.

Moscow claims this will aid “mutual trust” in the peace negotiations between Russian and Ukraine, but not everyone believes that.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “We can say the signals are positive, but those signals do not drown out the explosions or Russian shells.”

The Ukrainian military has suggested that the change in strategy is “probably a rotation of individual units” instead, as Russia tries to overcome counterattacks from Ukraine.

On Tuesday night, the MoD also claimed: “It is almost certain that the Russian offensive has failed in its objective to encircle Kyiv.

“Russian statements regarding a reduction in activity around Kyiv and reporting indicating the withdrawal of some Russian units from these areas, may indicate Russia’s acceptance that it has now lost the initiative in the region.”

There is significant scepticism around Russia’s partial withdrawal from leaders in the West.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has refused to lift any sanctions on Russia based on this loose promise of a ceasefire. His spokesperson said Johnson told his cabinet pressure on Vladimir Putin “must be increased both through further economic measures and providing military aid to ensure Russia changes course completely”.

US President Joe Biden expressed a similar sentiment this week, saying: “I don’t read anything into it until I see what their [Russia’s] actions are.”

Moscow’s pledge to withdraw near Kyiv and Chernihiv alsofollowed a brutal Russian attack on a nine-storey government building in Mykolaiv, in the south of Ukraine, which has killed at least 12 people according to Ukrainian officials and injured 20 more.


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