With Ukraine on the offensive in its months-long war with Russia, the aggressor (Russia) is still pushing for the complete annihilation of Ukraine from the world’s map.
US Ambassador told United Nations last Friday that there’s no doubt about Russia’s intentions to completely dismantle Ukraine and “dissolve it from the world map entirely.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UN Security Council that US intelligence is seeing more signs of Russia setting the foundation for their counterattack in the Eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Even though Kherson is currently blocked off, there are movements around the southern part of the city and Zaporizhzhia regions.
According to reports, aside from Russia’s recruitment of assassins to the frontlines, they are inaugurating “illegitimate proxy officials in Russian-held areas, with the goal of holding sham referenda or decree to join Russia.”
Thomas-Greenfield added that even Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stated that this is Russia’s ultimate “war aim.”
Lavrov told the Arab summit in Cairo last Sunday that Moscow is currently looking at the big picture. They are supposedly looking to “free” the people of Ukraine from its “unacceptable regime.” Analysts say this is a suggestion that Moscow’s war is set to extend beyond the Donbas region this year.
“We will certainly help the Ukrainian people to get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-people and anti-historical.”
Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky told the Security Council that Moscow is looking to carry out the “de-Nazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.”
“There must no longer be a threat from this stage to Donbas, nor to Russia, nor to the liberated Ukrainian territories where for the first time in several years people are finally able to feel that they can live the way they want,” he said.
Thomas-Greenfield also called out nations simply trying to boost their military defenses and neglecting to support Ukraine (without naming China outright).
“One country’s security should not come at the expense of another’s.”
She also said it’s high time nations open the space for diplomacy instead of pushing for the violent war in Ukraine and Russia.
“Let us be clear: Russia’s ongoing actions are the obstacle to a resolution to this crisis.”
Without directly naming Russia, she also said there’s surmounting evidence of the brutality during the war. There are bombings of schools and hospitals, killing aid workers, journalists, and civilians looking to feel. There was also execution-style murder in the Bucha region.”
Additionally, there is supporting evidence showing Russian forces interrogating, forcibly detaining, and deporting hundreds and thousands of Ukrainian citizens “including children,” “tearing them from their homes and sending them to remote regions in the east.”
Bold Ambitions, But Can Russia Do It?
According to the Canadian Armed Forces analysis, Russia is nearly depleted.
“Due to significant losses of personnel and equipment, Russia probably no longer has the military capacity to realize its ambitions in Ukraine.”
2/3 Russia is forced to scale back its strategic goals by presenting a new public rationale for the partial territorial control it has achieved.
''Russia has always had maximalist geographic ambitions in Ukraine.
— Flash (@Flash43191300) July 22, 2022
3/3 Moscow's failed attempts to seize Kyiv and the northeastern cities of Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkiv at the start of the invasion demonstrate these significant territorial ambitions far beyond the Donbas'', – the statement says.
— Flash (@Flash43191300) July 22, 2022
Their analysis also notes that even though Russia “has always had a maximalist geographic” ambition on Ukraine, they no longer have the weaponry, manpower, and capability to execute large-scale operations.
Still, Lavrov’s keeping their stance on continuing their advances in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the British Defense Ministry’s skeptical about Lavrov’s comments, especially since they’re now sourcing Wagner Group and lowering recruitment standards.
“Russia still has quite a bit of equipment in storage. That’s true. But it’s a considerable step down in terms of quality and technological level compared to what they began the war with. The attrition issue is significant. I think it’s fair to say that, in key categories, they’ve lost 30 percent of the active armored force,” said Michael Kofman, who heads the Russia Studies Program at the Virginia-based think tank CNA.
“It’s not the same challenge. Nonetheless, there is a similar long-term challenge for Ukraine to avoid force degradation, because it’s clear that as the war has gone on Ukraine has also lost a number of its best units that [they] are forced to replace with mobilized personnel and individuals who have limited basic training,” he explained.