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Putin’s New Deadline for a Major Victory in Ukraine


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Russia’s forces are working to regroup again and charge after the Donetsk region of Eastern Ukraineaccording to a report from a top Ukrainian official serving in the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered Russian forces to reach the administrative borders of the Donetsk region by Sept. 15. Russia will be attempting to shift its third Army Corps to handle the Donetsk shift, the Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Directorate, Oleksiy Gromov, said Thursday, according to Interfax.

“We are considering the issue that directly with the participation of this unit there will be an attempt to conduct offensive operations in Donetsk direction,” Gromov said. “The enemy continues to hold the occupied areas of Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, and is also trying to create favorable conditions for the resumption of the offensive.”

But the new army corps that Russia wants to send to Donetsk to overpower Ukrainian forces isn’t necessarily the most impressive force. In recent days Russia has tried to gin up the new group of fighters by nixing an age limit for recruits and even recruiting prisoners, so that they can beef up their numbers, according to a senior US defense official.

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“Russia has already begun trying to expand recruitment efforts to staff at least one volunteer battalion per federal district, and to raise a new third Army corps. They’ve done this in part by eliminating the upper age limit for new recruits, and also by recruiting prisoners,” the senior US defense official said in a briefing with reporters on Monday. “Many of these new recruits have been observed as older, unfit and ill-trained. So what this all suggests to us is that any additional personnel Russia is able to muster by the end of the year may not, in fact, increase overall Russian…combat power.”

Putin’s armed forces have been faltering since the very beginning of the war. Some troops have taken to sabotaging Russian equipment. And Russia has not achieved major objectives in the war, too. Moscow aimed to take Donetsk by June, but has not succeeded, according to the head of the Donetsk regional military-civilian administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko. Russia failed to take Kyivthe capital, and has failed to take much ground since mid-summer.

After several months of issues, Putin has sought to throw cold water on the idea that Russia has made full-force efforts to advance, only to fail. He warned in July that “by and large, we have not started anything seriously yet.”

But Russia’s goals to add 137,000 additional troops to its armed forces by January, too, are unlikely to prove helpful to Moscow’s war plan, the senior US defense official said.

“This effort is unlikely to succeed,” the official said.

The news of Russia’s efforts to regroup comes after Russia’s top military official has announced that Russian forces are reaching a slow-down point in the war. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed just last week Russian forces have been slowing their war effort in recent weeks.

And in recent days, Russian forces have been facing more setbacks. As Ukrainian forces work to launch a counteroffensive in the south of Ukraine, to take back Kherson, a city which Russia captured in the early days of the war this year, Russian units are faltering, according to the Pentagon.

“Ukrainian military operations… have made some forward movement, and in some cases… in the Kherson region,” Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder told reporters in a briefing this week. “We are aware, in some cases, of Russian units falling back.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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