Sunday, 3 Jul 2022

Putin suffers embarrassing defeat as Russia’s main objectives slip from Moscow’s grasp

Embarrassing defeat raises doubts over Russia main objective

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President Putin’s primary strategic objectives in Ukraine are yet to be achieved as Russia focuses artillery assaults in the south eastern area of the Donbas.

The Kremlin’s plan to secure Moscow’s reputation as an international power and fracture NATO alliances has collapsed.

Despite advances in Luhansk, Putin’s military has previously failed to capture the capital, Kyiv.

Retired major general Clive Chapman warned some analysts had placed “too much” emphasis on the Russian attempts to seize the area of Severodonetsk as President Putin’s political goals within the war have not been attained.

Speaking to Times Radio, Mr Chapman said: “You have to go back to one of the grand strategic objectives of Russia, of which there are really two.

“The first one is to regain lost territories and spheres of influence, even though the spheres of influence is a Cold War construct. The second one is to restore Russia to great power status. 

“Below that set the strategic objectives of Russia, two of which are to divide and deter NATO and the second one is divide and weaken the EU.

“So, I don’t think the time is right to sort of say that we’re falling apart.”

The former head of counter terrorism and UK operations in the Ministry of Defence suggested President Putin had hoped to fracture opinions within NATO by forcing international powers to adopt different approaches to the conflict.

The Kremlin had placed increased pressure on global allies of Ukraine by threatening energy supplies as Russia is a major provider of fuel across Europe.

Despite the economic pressures of the war, international leaders have rallied behind President Zelensky by denouncing the Russian invasion and providing huge quantities of advanced military aid to the Ukrainian defensive efforts.

There had been fears Europe had become increasingly split over the approach to the conflict in Ukraine as the President of France Emmanuel Macron warned the defensive front should not “humiliate” President Putin.

Speaking of the war in Ukraine, President Macron previously said: “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means.”

He added: “I think, and I have told him, that he has made a historic and fundamental mistake for his people, for himself and for history.”

The French President confirmed that he had spoken with Vladimir Putin at several key points since the invasion began in February and, although he stressed Russia should not be humiliated, he has publicly criticised the Kremlin’s decision to launch the initial invasion.

President Macron visited Kyiv to meet with Mr Zelensky ahead of French plans to increase aid to Ukraine.

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Mr Chapman described the “symbolic” visit of Mr Macron, accompanied by Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi, as “very, very important.”

He continued: “Now, it’s the job of military people to tell the practical truth to the politicians because, of course, all wars are fought for political objectives, they’re not fought for military objectives.

“So, at the moment, you can say that the war is kind of in an attritional phase where it is a battering ram going on.

“People make too much of Severodonetsk in the sense that people say this is of strategic importance – it is not.”

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