Saturday, April 2, 2022

Russian Strategy in Ukraine Shifts After Setbacks; Ukraine Strikes Inside Russian Territory, Russians Say; Ukrainian official: Russian Arms Depots are Targets — But Not Near Civilians; UK Says Ukraine Has Retaken Villages of Sloboda, Lukashivka, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Russian Strategy in Ukraine Shifts After Setbacks, and a Lengthy War Looms:
Russia’s war on Ukraine shifted gears this week, as Moscow, lacking the strength to pursue rapid offensives on multiple fronts, began pulling back from Kyiv and other cities in the north, and refocused for now on seizing parts of the country’s east.
The pivot, after five weeks of intense fighting, was a gauge of the intensity and effectiveness of Ukrainian resistance and signaled a decision by the Kremlin to pursue what is likely to become a prolonged war of attrition.
Ukraine’s counterattacks—including a helicopter strike inside Russian territory—and Moscow’s redeployment toward Donbas in Ukraine’s east suggest that both sides believe they can win, making it unlikely that peace talks will result in a deal anytime soon.
Russia’s “military and political strategy hasn’t changed, it remains to annihilate Ukraine,” said Andriy Zagorodnyuk, a former Ukrainian minister of defense who advises President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government. But he said, “Now, their capabilities no longer match their strategic vision.”
That could be a recipe for a prolonged conflict, increasing the stakes for both sides’ ability to raise troops and money and access weapons, ammunition and supplies.
For Ukraine, with its smaller military resources, such a shift to a lengthy conventional war heightens the need for shipments of heavy weapons such as tanks and artillery, Ukrainian officials said.
Russia’s declared shift toward trying to seize Donbas could allow it to concentrate firepower on a smaller front, shorten supply lines and make air support easier, giving Moscow a better chance at military success. It would also position Russia to try to encircle some of Ukraine’s best units, which are stationed there.
The Russian pullbacks from Kyiv, however, also allow Ukraine to redeploy additional resources to the eastern Donbas front—and to do it much faster because of shorter routes. --->READ MORE HERE
Ukraine Strikes Inside Russian Territory, Russians Say:
Ukrainian attack helicopters executed a low-flying predawn raid on Russian territory, Russian officials said, eluding air defenses to strike an oil depot as peace talks over the war resumed.
Security-camera footage released by Russian state-owned media channel RIA Novosti appeared to show several missiles firing at the depot and setting off explosions. Vyacheslav Gladkov, the regional governor of Belgorod, where the attack took place, wrote on social media that two Ukrainian helicopters carried out the operation.
“The helicopters struck a civilian oil storage facility on the outskirts of Belgorod,” Russia’s Ministry of Defense said. “As a result of the missile strike, some of the tanks were damaged and caught fire. Only civilian vehicles were supplied with fuel from this facility.”
Belgorod is located close to the Ukrainian border with Russia and north of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
Ukrainian officials didn’t claim responsibility for the attack. “I can neither confirm nor reject the claim that Ukraine was involved in this simply because I do not possess all the military information,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that the strike risked undermining diplomatic efforts to end the war.
“This is not something that can be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for the continuation of negotiations,” Mr. Peskov said Friday.
If confirmed, the Belgorod raid would be Kyiv’s second helicopter operation in as many days, following an attempt to penetrate Russian air defenses around the besieged city of Mariupol, along Ukraine’s Azov Sea coast. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Ukrainian official: Russian arms depots are targets — but not near civilians+++++

+++++UK says Ukraine has retaken villages of Sloboda, Lukashivka+++++

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