Putin faces humiliation as Kremlin’s pivotal blunder dismantles Russia advance strategy

Ukraine: Putin may 'settle for what he's got' says Kellogg

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Vladimir Putin has focused the activities of the Russian Army to the east of Ukraine but has failed to make any significant advance despite the large number of troops deployed. Ukraine has been fiercely fighting back against the invasion and analysts are now suggesting Russia may be forced to reconsider its action plan. Retired US Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg noted Putin is now in a “stalemate” that may lead Moscow to capitulate to early peace talks instead of trying to advance further.

Speaking to Fox News, Lt Gen Kellogg said: “If you look at the fighting right now, we’re predominantly in the eastern portion of the country.

“The western part is actually intimidation by fire, they haven’t moved any forces. The Dnipr river, which goes from Kyiv southeast right down, that’s really the eastern part of the country – a lot of Russian-speaking, not supporting.

“I don’t think he’s going to go west. I think what he’s done, to tell you the truth is he started this operation and he made a huge tactical and strategic error.

“He actually started with five main attacks instead of one. He should’ve concentrated on Kyiv.”

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He continued: “If you look at a chessboard, Kyiv is actually both the king and the queen on the chessboard – the king means it’s the central part of Government, it’s the centre of gravity, and the queen because that’s where Zelensky is.

“If you don’t take Kyiv, and you don’t get Zelensky, you lose. And right now he [Putin] is a stalemate – he’s gone from Plan A to Plan B and he’s probably in Plan C.

“While all of this is important, in the southeast of the country, connecting Crimea with the breakaways republics, he really hasn’t got a chance to take the rest of the country.

“He doesn’t have troops to go further to the west. I think what he may do is settle for what he’s got and try to go for some type of negotiation.”

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Putin was also delivered another blow when the city of Mariupol, which has been under siege for nearly two weeks, chose to ignore a Russia-imposed ultimatum to surrender to Moscow.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said: “There can be no question of any surrender, laying down of arms.

“We have already informed the Russian side about this.”

Moscow offered to open humanitarian corridors from Mariupol at 0700 GMT on Monday if residents lay down arms.

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The two sides have made agreements throughout the war on exit corridors but have accused each other of violations after civilians were targeted as they attempted to leave.

Mariupol has suffered some of the heaviest bombardments since Russia invaded.

Many of its 400,000 residents remain trapped as the fighting rages.

Ms Vereshchuk said over 7,000 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Sunday, more than half from Mariupol.

She added that the Government planned to send nearly 50 buses on Monday for more evacuations but reports emerged online claiming the drivers were stopped by Russian soldiers as they headed to the town.

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