Russia: First Phase of War Over, Military Will Now Focus on Eastern Donbas

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Russia’s Defense Ministry said Friday that it has completed the first phase of its “special military operation” in Ukraine and will now focus on the eastern Donbas region, signaling that Moscow’s strategy might be shifting due to military losses and a stalled campaign.

The statement was delivered at a briefing by Sergei Rudskoi, the head of the Russian general staff’s main operational department, who said that Russia’s objectives “of the first stage of the operation have generally been accomplished,” without elaborating.

“The combat potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been considerably reduced, which, I emphasize once again, makes it possible to focus on the main efforts to achieve the main goal … [the] liberation of Donbas,” Rudskoi added, according to the Interfax news agency.

Since the start of the conflict on Feb. 24, Russia has not been able to secure the capital, Kyiv, or other major cities in Ukraine. Western military officials have said that in recent days, Russia’s forces appear to be bogged down across the country.

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