Desperate Russia Launches Whole New Ukraine Plan

Desperate Russia

Russian officials are learning from their mistakes as they launch a new offensive in eastern Ukraine, senior U.S. officials warn.

The early stages of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine were marked by a series of embarrassing setbacks—which raised questions about Russia’s military capabilities and whether it is equipped to actually win the war. The failures, which have been numerous, surprised military analysts at every turn. Russian forces failed to take Kyiv, and instead floundered outside of the Ukrainian capital for weeks before withdrawing, stalled by a lack of fuel and supplies. Russian troops have been abandoning weapons and vehicles throughout Ukraine as they’ve retreated. Some have outright surrendered. And in the latest humiliation, Ukrainian missiles sank Russia’s Black Sea Fleet flagship, the Moskva.

But after regrouping, Russian forces appear to be better prepared for a ground offensive in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, according to a senior U.S. defense official.

Experts say the logistics problems that plagued Russia outside Kyiv might not hamper the offensive in the Donbas as much. “They’re trying to learn from their mistakes,” the official said on a call Tuesday. “The supply lines will be of shorter length and easier for the Russians to manage.”

Still, there’s no guarantee Russia will win in the east, says Michael Kofman, the research program director in the Russia Studies Program at CNA, a Virginia-based national security research organization.

”It remains to be seen… if the Russian military substantially learned from all the mistakes they made in the first month of the war,” Kofman told The Daily Beast. “You still see them operating without reconnaissance, you still see them driving just along roads, open to ambush, and not integrating supporting fires as well with their advance.”

The Pentagon added that the renewed offensive in the east could play up the Ukrainians’ advantages.

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