As conflicting reports trail the casualty figures for both Ukrainian and Russian forces, Kremlin has announced that it has accomplished the aim of what it describes as “special military operation” in Ukraine. Moscow says it’s attention will now be focusing on gaining total control of Donbas region.
The Donbas, a region comprising of two provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, share border with Russia and have been partially controlled by Russian-backed militias since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea.
It is believed that some of the elite Ukrainian fighting squads are in the Donbas region, and Russian’s main concern now would be to try to cut them off either from resupplying them or allowing them to move to other fronts.
Analysts believe that Moscow’s announcement is an admission of guilt and poor pre-invasion plan. Both US and UK intelligence units have suggested that Kremlin is reeling in pains of the ferocious resistance mounted by Ukrainian fighting force. This, they say has inflicted much losses on Moscow and caused low moral on its fighters.
While official report from Russia’s senior military claims that the country has lost 1351 fighters and 3850 injured, Ukraine officials say they have ‘neutralised’ more than 15000 Russian forces. These figures have not been independently verified, but they attest to the dynamics of war rhetoric and claims.
The latest figure from Russia markedly differ from other estimates. For instance, a NATO official told AP on March 24 that the Russian death toll was likely between 7,000 and 14,000. This is akin to the earlier reports in The New York Times on March 16 which quoted officials as saying that US intelligence estimates put the death toll for Russian soldiers at around 7,000.
In all, the Ukraine is shifting from defensive to offensive strategy in an attempt to regain control of area occupied by Russian forces such Kherson. On the other hand, Moscow is now restrategising and opting for a narrower focus in its quest to conquer Ukraine.
Given the dynamics of this ongoing war in Ukraine, it would be too simplistic to think that Russia is done with its broader aim of invading Ukraine in the first place.