Ukraine says Russia attempting to move war to ‘protracted phase’ – after ‘achieving none of its strategic objectives’ | World News

The Kremlin is trying to move the war into a “protracted phase” by building layered defences in occupied regions in the south of Ukraine, the country’s defence minister has said.

Russia is close to capturing all of Luhansk, one of two southern Ukrainian regions that make up the swathe of land known as the Donbas, but has been plagued by setbacks elsewhere since its invasion.

As UK intelligence suggested Moscow had achieved “none of the strategic objectives” set out in its original plan, Kyiv indicated it expected Vladimir Putin‘s regime was now preparing for a lengthy conflict.

“The Kremlin is trying to move the war into a protracted phase,” defence minister Oleksii Yuriyovych Reznikov told the GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum by video link.

“Instead of advancing, the Russian armies are constructing layered defences in southern occupied regions, primarily Kherson,” he said.

It comes days after president Joe Biden revealed the US would be providing medium-range missile systems to Ukraine to help them repel Russian attacks.

But amid fears the move could trigger an escalation in the war, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said the country did not plan to use the multiple-launch rocket systems it receives to attack facilities in Russia.

“Ukraine is waging a defensive war and does not plan to use the MLRS to attack facilities in Russia,” he said in a Twitter post.

“Our partners know where their weapons are used.”

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Britain’s defence ministry said that on the 100th day of Russia’s invasion, Moscow was achieving tactical success in the Donbas despite a string of failures elsewhere in Ukraine.

“Measured against Russia’s original plan, none of the strategic objectives have been achieved,” the ministry said in an update.

“Russia is now achieving tactical success in the Donbas. Russian forces have generated and maintained momentum and currently appear to hold the initiative over Ukrainian opposition.

“Russia has not been able to generate manoeuvre or movement on other fronts or axes, all of which have transitioned to the defensive.”

Read more:
100 days of war in Ukraine: The devastating consequences of Putin’s invasion
Torture and torment over missing loved ones: Inside village ravaged by Russian soldiers

It came amid reports that Moscow was growing increasingly frustrated at China’s refusal to offer more support.

Chinese support “insufficient from the Russian standpoint”

A Chinese official was quoted by The Washington post as describing recent discussions between the two countries as “tense”.

According to the report, China is attempting to maintain its strong relations with Russia while avoiding also being targeted by sanctions – goals described by US officials as “contradictory” and “hard to fulfill”.

“That has been difficult,” a senior US official told the newspaper.

“And it is insufficient from the Russian standpoint.”

A source in Beijing with direct knowledge of the discussions, meanwhile, offered an indication that President Xi Jinping’s administration was not willing to provide unlimited assistance to Moscow following the invasion of Ukraine.

“China has made clear its position on the situation in Ukraine, and on the illegal sanctions against Russia,” they said.

“We understand [Moscow’s] predicament. But we cannot ignore our own situation in this dialogue. China will always act in the best interest of the Chinese people.”

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