Thursday, March 30, 2023

Strikes Hit Russian-Occupied Ukraine as Kyiv Prepares New Offensive; Ukraine Allies See a Way War Can End But Lack Plan to Achieve It; Helping Ukraine Punch Back; Ukrainian Forces Repel More Than 60 Russian Attacks Over Past Day, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Photo: afp contributor#afp/AFP/Getty Images
WSJ: Strikes Hit Russian-Occupied Ukraine as Kyiv Prepares New Offensive:
Explosions shook Russian-occupied cities in southern Ukraine, injuring a police chief and hitting a military facility, while a Russian missile strike killed at least two people and injured 29 others in the eastern city of Slovyansk, Ukrainian officials said.
The explosions Monday came as front lines in the east and south were largely deadlocked and Ukraine’s military resisted offensives by Russian forces focused on a handful of cities to the east of Slovyansk, which has long been in Moscow’s sights.
Ukraine is preparing to launch its own offensive, which analysts say could aim south toward the Sea of Azov, a band of territory including Melitopol and Mariupol that Russia has occupied since early in its 2022 invasion.
A blast in Melitopol early Monday hit a university that Ivan Fedorov, the exiled Ukrainian mayor, said was used as a military barracks and administrative building for Russian security forces in the city that had a prewar population of 150,000. A local collaborator said four people had been injured in the explosion.
Further east, Mariupol’s Russian-installed police chief, Mikhail Moskvin, suffered a concussion when his car exploded several feet away from him, blowing out the windows of the automobile and the buildings nearby, state Russian news agency RIA reported, showing footage of a white car, with its doors flung open and rear bumper blown off.
The explosions appear to demonstrate Ukraine’s ability to strike deep inside territory that Russia claims as its own. Ukrainian special forces and partisans have targeted leading collaborators in occupied areas, but rarely acknowledge their involvement publicly. Ukraine has used long-range precision missiles to target Russian military facilities. The Ukrainian military made no immediate comment on the explosions Monday. --->READ MORE HERE
LIBKOS/Associated Press
WSJ: Ukraine Allies See a Way War Can End but Lack Plan to Achieve It:
Western leaders are beginning to have a clearer vision of how they hope the war in Ukraine will end.
What is missing is any plan to make it happen.
The hope in Washington and European capitals is that a Ukrainian counteroffensive—boosted by Western tanks and other fresh weaponry—will punch a hole in Russia’s control of Ukrainian territory this spring.
In theory, that gives Kyiv’s forces such a battlefield advantage that Russian President Vladimir Putin is nudged into peace talks where the Kremlin cedes at least the territory it has taken since the invasion in February 2022. Then Ukraine is free to anchor its future in the west, and a defeated and diminished Mr. Putin can face the wrath of his own people.
But few officials have any confidence the war and the peace will unfold so neatly, and there is little sign Ukraine’s Western allies have a serious plan to help shape events.
Many of Ukraine’s supporters are focused on a short-term priority: a furious scramble to find enough ammunition for Kyiv to hold Russia back in eastern Ukraine, as well as provisioning for a lightning counteroffensive.
Far more likely, though, is a war of attrition that lasts until one side is so defeated or exhausted that it calls a halt without realizing its ultimate aims.
Such an outcome, many diplomats acknowledge, would be measured in years not months.
Even then, there is no clear consensus on what to do about Mr. Putin should Ukraine win.
There is broad agreement that Ukraine ought to be given the means to deter a future Russian invasion, either as part of NATO or in some kind of pact with the alliance.
But French President Emmanuel Macron and some allies have said they are wary of humiliating Russia and want the West to offer Ukraine security assurances that Russia can live with. Others instead want to see Russia’s military permanently degraded. --->READ MORE HERE
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