3 February 2023
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Soon after Russia embarked upon its invasion of Ukraine, I argued that Ukrainians and North Atlantic Treaty Organization should not rush to dismiss Vladimir Putin’s peace terms in order to bring an end to the war.

Putin suggested that for the fighting to end, Russia would need not only a Ukrainian commitment not to join NATO in the future, but also to acknowledge Russian sovereignty over Crimea and “independence” for the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. These still seem to be the principal Russian goals.

Since early March, Russian forces have been bogged down in fighting on the outskirts of major Ukrainian cities such as the capital, Kyiv and the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. The city of Mariupol in the south has seen particularly intense fighting and destruction as Russian forces shifted to an artillery-based strategy.

Recently, Ukrainian forces have retaken some ground in localised counter-attacks near Kyiv and there is also evidence of Russian troops pulling back of their own volition in the same region, though the United States is dubious.

Russia’s strategy

It would be easy to suggest that Russia is losing the war, but that would be simplistic.

The war is certainly not going as well as Putin had initially hoped. Nonetheless, Russian forces have made a slow but steady process in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Briefings by Major-General Igor Konashenkov of the Russian Ministry of…

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Abdul Gh Lone

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