‘Will play into Ukraine’s hands’ Russian Donbas offensive pulled apart on tactical errors

Russia's Donbas invasion will 'play into Ukraine's hands'

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Strategic analyst Jack Keane believes Vladimir Putin’s attempt to regain the initiative in Ukraine with a renewed offensive on the Donbas region has been ill-planned. Russia’s military has refocused events on the east of Ukraine after an earlier push on the capital Kyiv stalled and was ultimately abandoned by the Kremlin.

Mr Keane told Fox News: “Russia has begun the second offensive n the Donbas area, which President Zelensky certainly alerted everyone to that today and the characteristic of this offensive is actually starting out much like it did in the Kyiv.

“Russian forces are road-bound they’re single file, they’re conducting piecemeal attacks in the northwestern part of Luhansk, which is part of the Donbas region.

“It is not the kind of armour formations that we would normally see in a well-trained force.

“The terrain there is flat and open, and it’s very conducive to conducting that kind of an assault.”

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“If they continue to conduct operations as they have started, this will play into the hands of the Ukrainians,” he added.

“Also in the last 24 hours the Ukrainians have managed to conduct a fairly significant counter-attack, southeast Kharkiv and took back a number of towns and cut off one of the major routes, we call them lines of communication, that the Russians are using to move south in the Donbas area.

“Now that doesn’t shut it off entirely because there is another road that they can use but nonetheless, it just shows you the aggressiveness of the Ukrainians and the imagination that they have in terms of how they use their operational forces.

“They are anything but static, and they attack during the day and they attack at night.”

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The retired general continued: “So this is just the beginning of a very serious engagement.

“The casualties are likely going to be high on both sides.

“Certainly the Russians have more forces by far and this offensive that they’re launching, but nonetheless, the skill and will of the Ukrainians can not be underestimated. 

“Certainly, their determination and resolve to fight for their, for their loved ones and for their country. It’s certainly been in evidence now for 50 plus days.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Russia has begun the “Battle of Donbas” in the east and a “very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive”.

“No matter how many Russian troops they send there, we will fight. We will defend ourselves,” he said in a video address on Monday.

Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, assured Ukrainians their forces could hold off the offensive in “the second phase of the war”.

“Believe in our army, it is very strong,” he said.

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