“We still believe that this conflict will drag on,” AFP was quoted from a regular briefing on Thursday. An unnamed Pentagon official said that the Russians were still facing the same problems as their campaign from the beginning, and that their forces were now insufficient to “win the war.” However, Moscow “still has a significant part of the funds it has accumulated since the autumn” along the Ukrainian border.
The assessment comes at a time when the Ukrainians are succeeding in pushing the occupiers out of the areas around Kharkov, which came under Russian control at the beginning of the war. According to Washington, this development is still going on.
However, on Donbas, who became the focus of the fighting after the unsuccessful Russian attack on Kyiv, the situation is less favorable for the defenders. Russian troops continue to attack Ukrainian targets, and although according to Kiev and Washington, they have not achieved any significant success, there are reports that they are succeeding in conquering more and more communities.
A US Department of Defense official told reporters on Thursday that the Russians were changing tactics in the Donbas and were starting to fight in smaller formations. “They set smaller goals. And sometimes these goals are controlled only for a short time before the Ukrainians get them back,” The New York Times (NYT) quoted the briefing as saying. An unnamed official claimed that the Russians were not celebrating any great success even with the new approach.
However, he admitted that the occupiers were moving, however intermittently and slowly. “Managing and maneuvering smaller forces is an easier, more digestible way to deal with operational progress,” he said.