On Tuesday, Russia justified the slowdown in its military operation in Ukraine, attributing this to “avoid civilians casualties”, at a time when Moscow escalated its aggression on the last pockets of resistance in the vicinity of Luhansk, in light of the escalation of European criticism of the invasion of Ukraine.
On Tuesday, the RIA news agency reported that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow was deliberately slowing its offensive in Ukraine to avoid any civilian casualties and to allow civilians to leave, according to Reuters.
“Ceasefires are being declared and humanitarian corridors are being created in order to get people out of surrounded settlements,” the agency quoted him as saying.
For his part, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said that Russia will achieve its goals in Ukraine without being bound by specific time limits.
Patrushev added: “All the goals set by the president will be achieved. It cannot be otherwise, because the facts, including the facts of history, are on our side,” and continued, “We are not bound by deadlines.”
And last week, a report published by the Radio “New Voice of Ukraine” website concluded that the counterattack led by Ukrainian forces is changing the course of the war, especially in light of the huge Russian losses.
On the political front, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told global business leaders in Davos on Tuesday that Ukraine must win the war it is waging against Moscow, making its invasion a strategic failure for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
At the World Economic Forum, which brings together more than 2,000 business leaders, politicians and experts, von der Leyen described the Russian rules of the game as coming straight from another century.
She said that Russia “treats millions of people not as human beings, but as a faceless population that is moved, controlled or placed as a buffer between military forces, in an attempt to trample the aspirations of an entire nation with tanks.”
“Ukraine must win this war, and Putin’s aggression must be a strategic failure,”
— Ursula von der Leyen
In the field, on Tuesday, the Russian forces escalated their attack on the last pockets of resistance in the vicinity of Luhansk, located in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, at a time when the war entered its fourth month.
Since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine in late February, Kyiv has been able, with the help of Western countries, to counter the advance of its neighbor’s forces in many areas, including the capital, Kyiv. However, Russia is now focused on securing and expanding its gains in the Donbass and Ukraine’s east coast.
“The coming weeks of the war will be difficult, and we should be aware of this,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday evening in his daily speech.