Six months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and it’s still struggling to gain ground. Now, it looks like President Vladimir Putin’s army is massing forces to try a new strategy. Will it be enough to overcome the smaller country’s determined resistance, or could the Kremlin strongman be heading for disaster?
Last weekend, Vadim Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence, said Russia is concentrating forces in the country’s south. That marks a shift from recent fighting, which focused troops on the Luhansk region in northeast Ukraine. The Kremlin declared victory in Luhansk in early July and now seems intent on capturing more land in the south.
That would allow Putin to achieve one of his main goals: carving out a land corridor linking the Crimea region to Russia itself. The first weeks of the invasion showed the strongman’s disorganized army didn’t have the power to fight everywhere at once, so now it’s trying to swallow Ukraine one bite at a time.
Defense experts have doubts about whether the plan can succeed, though. Ukraine is currently counterattacking towards the southern city of Kherson, which Kremlin-based troops captured in the first days of the war, and a spokesman says Kyiv-based forces expect to retake the city by September.
Russian losses have been much heavier than expected, with up to 75,000 troops now dead, and there’s a real risk for the Kremlin in concentrating its remaining forces. If Ukraine can defeat a new attack in the south, will Russia have enough soldiers left to keep fighting?