“Do you remember how Russia boasted that they would capture Kyiv in 48 hours? In 48 hours, which stretched for 48 days, the Russian army reached a level of irreparable losses higher than the Soviet Union during the ten years of war in Afghanistan,” Zelensky said in a video address.
Russia’s initial plan of storming the Ukrainian capital Kyiv when the war first started on 24 February, was stalled after its troops suffered heavy losses. Analysts say Moscow underestimated the strength of resistance and the capabilities of Ukraine’s own smaller armed forces.
Russia has also struggled with the basics. Armoured columns have run out of fuel, food, and ammunition. Vehicles have broken down and been left abandoned, then towed away by Ukrainian tractors.
Russian forces have now fully withdrawn from around the capital Kyiv and are building up their military forces in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
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Reports and satellite images suggest Russia is building up troops and equipment in at least three places on Ukraine’s border: Belgorod and Voronezh regions, and around the town of Matveev Kurgan to the south.
Inside Ukraine, Russia is reinforcing its operations around Izyum and preparing to thrust south to take Slovyansk, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
From there, Russian troops may be able to advance east or south east to encircle a contingent of Ukrainian ground forces.
Should Mariupol fall, Russian forces may start to push north to complete the encirclement of a larger group of Ukrainian troops.
Some of Ukraine’s most experienced and best-equipped units are thought to be in the east.
They are heavily dug in to key positions, and analysts say Russian troops may struggle to force them out.
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